Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Melania Trump's Slovenian parents get US citizenship

Melania Trump's Slovenian parents get US citizenship

President Donald Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced what he calls "chain migration", in which adult USA citizens can obtain residency for their relatives.

First lady Melania Trump's parents were sworn in as USA citizens in New York City on Thursday. Viktor was a auto dealer while Amalija worked in a textile factory.

They arrived and departed from a Manhattan federal building escorted by Homeland Security police. That type of family visa is exactly one of the categories that Trump and his allies have tried to repeal, saying they are harmful to the US.

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. They made their first trip to America in 2004.

President Trump has railed against family-based or "chain" immigration in the past.

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It is believed that Melania Trump, who is a United States citizen, has sponsored her parents for permanent residency.

On Thursday, the president and first lady were vacationing at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey, and she did not accompany her parents to the ceremony.

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

He frequently reminds his audiences of the October terror attack in NY, where Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan, ploughed a pickup truck down a bike lane, killing eight people near the World Trade Center. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the USA by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category. The CBC's Matt Kwong tells us how the Canadian and U.S. immigration system differ in terms of TYPE and numbers.

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.

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

They had been living in the United States as permanent residents.

New citizens are normally minted on Fridays, they said, and often the ceremonies are held at the federal courthouse across the street.

The Knavses raised Mrs Trump in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule.

Melania Trump was born Melania Knavs in what was then the communist country of Yugoslavia and later changed her surname to Knauss.

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