First Lady Melania Trump's Mom & Dad Become US Citizens

First Lady Melania Trump's Mom & Dad Become US Citizens

United States President Donald Trump's Slovenian in-laws on Thursday became American citizens through a family-based immigration programme that the president has publicly opposed, The New York Times reported.

Michael Wildes, the couple's immigration lawyer, confirmed they took the oath of citizenship on Thursday. Melania Trump sponsored her parents' citizenship application.

Their lawyer said the couple had met the five-year requirement, but added, "I can't give further comment".

The first lady's office declined to comment.

The president in January proposed ending most family-based immigration and replacing it with a skills-based system.

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Amid a bitter debate over immigration - particularly the Trump administration's separation of children from families crossing the border illegally - Wildes said the Knavses' attaining citizenship was "an example of it going right".

"He said, 'Hey look, there's people, nice people, they're relaxing, some are jogging, '" Donald Trump said during a rally last week in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, lamenting the lives lost and injured.

Currently, the majority of green card recipients receive them via family sponsorship.

The Knavses are from Slovenia, but now divide their time between New York City, Palm Beach, and Washington, D.C., where they stay with the Trumps in the White House.

Amalija is 73. The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling.

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Under US immigration law, Melania's parents would need to have had green cards for at least five years before they could apply for citizenship. She was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where Trump is now staying. It's unclear when the Knavses obtained permanent residency in the USA, the Times reports, but Wildes said they met the five year requirement.

The Knavs' immigration attorney accompanied the couple to the ceremony.

The First Lady became a U.S. citizen in 2006, after she entered the United States in 2001 on a coveted Einstein visa for people with "extraordinary ability" when she was working as a model.

The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush around the Jacob K Javits Federal Building.

Viktor was a vehicle dealer, and Amalija worked in a textile factory.

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They raised Melania in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule.

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