Melania Trump’s parents Viktor and Amalija Knavs become U.S. citizens

Melania Trump's parents sworn in as US citizens report

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

Michael Wildes, the couple's immigration lawyer, confirmed they took the oath of citizenship on Thursday.

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

He argues instead for a merit-based system prioritising professionals over relatives, and has drawn criticism for his vocal attacks on immigration laws and immigrants.

Tweeting on November 2, 2017, he said: "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now!"

When Trump began her modelling career, while still a teenager, the whole family sensed opportunity, according to those who knew them in Slovenia.

Melania Trump was born in 1970 and during her childhood Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, was ruled by Josip Broz Tito, a communist dictator who nonetheless allowed more freedoms than other Eastern bloc leaders.

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.

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

The Knavses' lawyer said their ceremony was kept private for "security reasons".

More news: Kudlow: Squeeze won't ease; China preps more tariffs

Mrs Trump's parents, a former vehicle dealer and textile factory worker, are Slovenian immigrants who had been living in the U.S. as permanent residents.

Melania Trump became a citizen in 2006 after obtaining a green card.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News.

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

Wildes told ABC News on Thursday that the Knavses had engaged in "a wonderful journey like most have - millions have - in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time".

Melania grew up in a two bedroom apartment in Sevnica, a small city formerly under communist control. And yet, here are his wife's parents, gladly getting the US citizenship that their son-in-law wants to virtually bring to an end within the next couple of years.

Mr Knavs was a vehicle dealer while Ms Knavs worked in a textile factory.

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

Viktor Knavs is 74, two years older than his son-in-law.

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