World Melania Trump’s parents become naturalized U.S. citizens despite the president’s hostility toward ‘chain migration’

04:35  10 august  2018
04:35  10 august  2018 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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First lady Melania Trump ’ s parents became U . S . citizens in a naturalization ceremony in New York on Thursday, completing a years-long Your Comments. MOST RECENT. Melania Trump ’ s parents become naturalized U . S . citizens despite the president ’ s hostility toward ‘ chain migration ’.

Melania Trump ’ s parents were briskly sworn in as citizens of the United States in New York on Thursday. Asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through family-based immigration, sometimes called “ chain migration ,” their lawyer said, “I suppose.

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, son Barron Trump and Melania's mother, Amalija Knavs, walk to board the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House on June 29.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, son Barron Trump and Melania's mother, Amalija Knavs, walk to board the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House on June 29. First lady Melania Trump’s parents became U.S. citizens in a naturalization ceremony in New York on Thursday, completing a years-long immigration process even as President Trump has called for new laws to bar Americans from sponsoring parents and other relatives.

Michael Wildes, an attorney for Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who had been living in the country as legal permanent residents after leaving their native Slovenia, confirmed that his clients took the oath of citizenship.

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Melania Trump ’ s parents were briskly sworn in as citizens of the United States in New York on Thursday. Asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through family-based immigration, sometimes called “ chain migration ,” their lawyer said, “I suppose.

Donald Trump has suggested ending most family-based immigration, the path to citizenship the first lady’ s parents used.

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News photographers captured images of the couple as they arrived at a Manhattan federal building accompanied by Department of Homeland Security officers. Wildes did not elaborate, citing the couple’s privacy. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady, also declined to comment “as they are not part of the administration.”

The Washington Post first reported in February that the Knavs had gained legal permanent residency and that legal experts believed it was likely that the first lady had sponsored their applications for family-based green cards.

Permanent residents typically have to hold green cards for five years before they can apply for U.S. citizenship. It is unclear when the Knavses first moved to the United States, but by late 2007, Viktor Knavs was listed in public records as residing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla.

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Donald Trump has suggested ending most family-based immigration, the path to citizenship the first lady’ s parents used.

Wildes told reporters in New York that the Knavses received no special treatment because of their relationship with the first family. “The application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody else’s, other than the security arrangements to facility today,” Wildes said.

Questions about the couple’s immigration status intensified last year as Trump mounted a push to slash legal immigration, including provisions to constrict the ability of U.S. citizens from sponsoring their parents, adult children and siblings for green cards.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs listen as their attorney makes a statement in New York on Thursday. First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as U.S. citizens.© Seth Wenig/AP Viktor and Amalija Knavs listen as their attorney makes a statement in New York on Thursday. First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as U.S. citizens. Trump has railed against what he calls “chain migration,” which the president contends has resulted in fiercer competition for blue-collar jobs for native-born Americans and introduces increased national security concerns.

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Melania Trump ’ s parents become naturalized U . S . citizens despite the president ’ s hostility toward " chain migration ," @DavidNakamura reports https It just happens to be a practice that Melania 's husband — the President — wants to do away with. — MJ Lee (@mj_lee) August 9, 2018.

First lady Melania Trump ' s parents have been sworn in as U . S . citizens . Trump has said the process, which he has called " chain migration ," allows potential terrorists to enter the United States.

Studies have shown, however, that immigrants have boosted the economy and commit crimes at lower rates than the native-born.

The Senate defeated several immigration bills in the spring, including one that included the proposals backed by Trump.

Critics said the Knavs’s ability to secure green cards and citizenship smacks of hypocrisy given the president’s hard-line immigration stance.

“This is the most anti-immigration administration probably in history of the country except when it comes to this family, and the hypocrisy is just stunning,” said David Leopold, an immigration attorney in Cleveland. “He and his administration are on a crusade to rid the country of immigrants, particularly immigrants of colour. What can you say when the first lady and her family have such an easy time?”

A White House spokesman declined to comment when asked about the criticism Thursday. The president is on a working vacation this week at his private resort in Bedminster, N.J.

The first lady’s own immigration path also has been scrutinized. A former model known as Melania Knauss, she arrived in New York in 1996 and began dating Trump in 2000.

In 2001, Knauss was granted a green card in the elite EB-1 program, which was designed for renowned academic researchers, multinational business executives or those in other fields, such as Olympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors, who demonstrated “sustained national and international acclaim.”

The year that Knauss got her legal residency, only five people from Slovenia received green cards under the EB-1 program, according to the State Department.

The Knavs raised Melania Trump in the rural town of Sevnica when Slovenia was a part of communist Yugoslavia. Viktor Knavs, now 74, was a car dealer while Amalija Knavs, now 73, worked in a textile factory.

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