Melania Trump’s parents are sworn in as US citizens

Blanche Robertson
August 10, 2018

Melania Trump - who has been vacationing with her husband U.S. President Donald Trump in Bedminster, N.J. - did not accompany her parents.

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

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, both in their 70s, took the citizenship oath at a special, private ceremony in New York City.

The Knavses slipped in and out of a side entrance at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Department of Homeland Security police. Wildes did not elaborate, citing the couple's privacy.

The first lady's office declined to comment.

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.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News.

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Viktor, 74, is two years older than President Trump, an immigration hardliner whose zero tolerance policy on illegal border crossings resulted in the separation of more than 2,500 migrant children from their parents.

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

However it's unclear whether their green cards were granted by a process the President has sought to end. Trump has advocated a "merit-based" system, but has not proposed any method of admitting immigrants to the United States to replace those categories. "He and his administration are on a crusade to rid the country of immigrants, particularly immigrants of color".

The first lady's own immigration path also has been scrutinized.

She settled in NY in 1996 and met Mr. Trump two years later. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the U.S. by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category.

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

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