First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as United States citizens


The Slovenian-born parents of US First Lady Melania Trump became US citizens at a naturalisation ceremony in NY on Thursday, their immigration lawyer Michael Wildes confirmed to AFP.

On Thursday, his Slovenian in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became USA citizens in a private ceremony in Manhattan by taking advantage of that same family-based immigration program.

A source with direct knowledge of Melania Trump's parents and their immigration status told CNN that Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards, a status that allowed them to live and work in the United States indefinitely and paved the way for citizenship.

The first lady was not present for the ceremony, and her parents told their lawyer she was in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president spends time in the summer at Trump National Golf Club.

Pressed on the fact that the President has harshly criticized family-based migration and regularly refers to it as "chain migration", Wildes responded: "I can't comment on the President's politics when it comes to my clients but I have stood up against the President's immigration policies personally".

Viktor, 74, and Amalija, 73, had been living as permanent residents in the US. The Jacob J. Javits Federal Building, at 26 Federal Plaza, also houses immigration court and the local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its subsidiary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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"This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to handsome people as they have today", Wildes said after the ceremony.

Writing on Twitter in November, Trump made his views on the system clear. The report quoted their lawyer as saying that the couple had met the five-year requirement, but added, "I can't give further comment". She became a United States citizen in 2006.

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.

It's unclear when they obtained their green cards, but usually, permanent residents have to hold green cards for five years before applying for citizenship. Melania was not present for the ceremony as she was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where the President is now staying.

Their daughter, Melania, was raised under Communist rule in the town of Sevnica where her father worked as a auto dealer and her mom in a textile factory. Amalija Knavs had harvested onions on her family's farm, then worked in a textile factory, and sewed her two daughters' clothes.