Melania's parents become US citizens through "chain migration" programme
US First Lady Melania Trump's Slovenian parents have become American citizens after taking the citizenship oath here using a family visa programme her husband Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced as "chain migration" and sought to end.
The pair had been living in the US on green cards sponsored by their daughter Melania.
"It's a dirty — a dirtier word," he said, adding that "it stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification."
Trump has vehemently opposed the family-based or what he called "chain immigration" in the past. The programme allows adult American citizens to obtain citizenship for their relatives.
"Chain migration must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. Not Acceptable!" Trump said in a tweet in November.
According to the report, Melania's communications director Stephanie Grisham said since the Knavses are not part of the administration, she is not commenting on them.
Wildes said their application, the process, the interviews were no different than anybody's else's.
"These doors that are in America remain hinged open to beautiful people as they have today. They would appreciate their privacy and we just thank everybody for their attention to this very important dialogue that we are having on immigration. This is an example of it going right," he said.
According to news reports, Melania came to the US in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" as a model. She became a US citizen in 2006.
The Knavses came and went from the ceremony at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Homeland Security police. Melania was not present for the ceremony as she was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where the President is currently staying.
The Knaves frequently travel with the Trumps and split their time between New York, Palm Beach and Washington, where they stay in the White House, the report said.
It is unclear as to when or how the couple received green cards. Under immigration statutes, the Knaves would have needed to have their green cards for at least five years in order to apply for citizenship, along with fulfilling character, residency, and civic knowledge requirements, it said.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, it takes about 1-2 years to process an application for naturalization in New York City.
Usually, naturalization ceremonies at the Jacob J Javits Federal Building in the city are large events in which several immigrants are sworn in as citizens after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance. But the Knaves' lawyer said their ceremony was kept private for "security reasons".
Presiding over the ceremony was New York district director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Thomas Cioppa.
The Knaves raised Melania in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under the Communist rule. Viktor, 74, was a car dealer while Amalija, 73, worked in a textile factory.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)