First Lady's Parents Become US Citizens

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First lady Melania Trump's parents are finally United States citizens after years of living under communist rule in Slovenia.

Viktor Knavs, 73, and his wife Amalija, 71, took the citizenship oath in a private ceremony in Manhattan, the New York Daily News reports.

Wildes confirmed that the Knavs had used what Trump has denounced as "chain migration", which allows adult American citizens to obtain residency for their relatives by sponsoring them. She obtained a green card in 2001 and became a naturalized citizen in 2006.

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

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

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"These doors that are in America remain hinged open to attractive people as they have today", Wildes said, adding, "We just thank everybody for their attention to this very important dialogue that we're having on immigration".

Throughout his presidency, Trump has made a point to target undocumented immigrants, whether they have a criminal record or not.

"They had gotten sponsored by their daughter and then once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible", he said.

Trump's plan, which Congress has resisted, would limit immigrants like his wife to sponsoring only their spouses and underage children to join them in the USA, not their parents, adult children or siblings.

Trump has sought to eliminate family-based sponsorship, which he calls "chain migration", and replace it with merit-based citizenship programs.

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The Federal Building also houses immigration court and the local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its subsidiary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to The New York Times, Mr Wildes labelled family-based migration "a bedrock of our immigration process", and when asked if the pair had gained citizenship through the system, he reportedly replied: "I suppose".

They had been living in the U.S. as permanent residents.

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

The couple are natives of Slovenia, where they raised Melania, but have been in the USA for more than a decade, says their immigration lawyer, per CNBC. She said the first lady's parents "are not part of the administration and deserve privacy".

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