Melania Trump's parents are sworn in as US citizens

Melania Trump's parents are sworn in as U.S. citizens

First lady Melania Trump's parents were sworn in as US citizens in New York City on Thursday.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, both in their 70s, took the citizenship oath at a special, private ceremony in New York City. Viktor Knavs, now 74, was a auto dealer while Amalija Knavs, now 73, worked in a textile factory.

The latter is unlikely, since applicants must prove they could do a job no other American could.

The couple's lawyer said they had "travailed a wonderful journey".

In 2001, Knauss was granted a green card in the elite EB-1 program, which was designed for renowned academic researchers, multinational business executives or those in other fields, such as Olympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors, who demonstrated "sustained national and worldwide acclaim".

"This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to lovely people as they have today", Wildes said.

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, son Barron Trump and Melania's mother, Amalija Knavs, walk to board the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House on June 29.


Amid a bitter debate over immigration - particularly the Trump administration's separation of children from families crossing the border illegally - Wildes said the Knavses' attaining citizenship was "an example of it going right". First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as US citizens.

"This is the most anti-immigration administration probably in history of the country except when it comes to this family, and the hypocrisy is just stunning", said David Leopold, an immigration attorney in Cleveland. He also called for eliminating a visa lottery program for people from countries under-represented in the U.S.

The US allows a number of ways for US citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor family members to come to the US permanently, including categories for parents, adult siblings and adult children, married and unmarried.

Experts estimate those measures would cut legal immigration into the US almost in half. Advocates for restricting legal immigration have pointed to the imbalance in favor of family connections as evidence of the need for reform, calling for a "merit-based" system that would choose immigrants based on need in the US.

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 United States for more than a decade, says their immigration lawyer, per CNBC.

The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modelling.

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