Donald Trump's in-laws obtain U.S. citizenship through immigration programme he opposes

Melania Trump's parents get US citizenship

Melania Trump's parents get US citizenship

First lady Melania Trump's Slovenian-born parents were sworn-in as US citizens Thursday, benefiting from a path to citizenship known as family-based immigration that the president and others have derisively dubbed "chain migration".

First Lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became U.S. citizens at a private ceremony here.

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's exact path to citizenship isn't clear, but one likely possibility is that their daughter's citizenship helped them get green cards first, reports CNBC.

"It stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification", he added to The Times.

President Donald Trump has always been a vocal critic of "chain migration", or the process of giving relatives of naturalized citizens legal status due to their family connections.

The president in January proposed ending most family-based immigration and replacing it with a skills-based system. "This is an example of it going right", he said.

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

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.

The president often rails against family-based immigration at his rallies, and has called it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country.

The couple was escorted to and from the Manhattan ceremony by Homeland Security police.

Back in February, the Washington Post reported Melania's parents had become legal permanent residents, had obtained green cards, and were awaiting scheduling for their naturalization oath.

The Knavs' immigration attorney accompanied the couple to the ceremony. She said the first lady's parents "are not part of the administration and deserve privacy".

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

Melania Trump became a United States citizen after entering the country on an Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" in 2001 as a model.

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

The Knavses raised Melania, born Melanija, in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule.

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

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