Melania Trump's parents become citizens through 'chain migration'


Viktor and Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump's Slovenian-born parents, took the oath of citizenship in NY on Thursday, their lawyer confirmed. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for the first lady, declined to comment on the Knavses' citizenship proceedings or whether the first lady supports her husband's efforts to limit family-based sponsorship.

Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as U.S. citizens.

Wildes wouldn't say how long the Knavses have lived in the U.S. Under the law, permanent residents must live in the country for at least five years before applying for citizenship.

Their lawyer Michael Wildes - who attended the ceremony with them - told reporters outside they had met the five year condition but refused to give more details, according to the New York Times.

The president in January proposed ending most family-based immigration and replacing it with a skills-based system. A smaller number go to immigrants based on their employment, and other categories include refugees and other special cases.

He said the pair had been living in the U.S. on green cards sponsored by Mrs Trump.

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She settled in NY in 1996 and met Mr Trump two years later.

It's unclear whether Mr and Mrs Knavs had their green cards granted by a process the President Trump has sought to end. Advocates for restricting legal immigration have pointed to the imbalance in favor of family connections as evidence of the need for reform, calling for a "merit-based" system that would choose immigrants based on need in the US.

While the Knavs now live in Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower in New York City, they didn't always live in luxury.

The couple are natives of Slovenia, where they raised Melania, but have been in the USA for more than a decade, says their immigration lawyer, per CNBC.

The first lady was named Melanija Knavs when she was born in Slovenia but later changed her name to Melania Knauss when she began her modeling career.