Meet the newest U.S. citizens: Melania Trump's parents

Carla Harmon
August 10, 2018

Melania Trump became a USA citizen in 2006, after entering the United States on a coveted Einstein visa for people of "extraordinary ability" in 2001 when she was working as a model.

First lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in as United States citizens on Thursday. "NOT ACCEPTABLE!" Wildes told The New York Times "I suppose" the Knavses obtained citizenship through chain migration, and called it a "dirtier" way of describing family-based immigration, "a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification". "Once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible", he said.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced what he calls "chain migration", in which adult U.S. citizens can obtain residency for their relatives. Under the law, permanent residents must live in the country for at least five years before applying for citizenship. The first lady herself was granted citizenship in 2006.

Melania Trump, who has been vacationing with her husband in Bedminster, New Jersey, did not accompany her parents.

The president often rails against family-based immigration at his rallies, and has called it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country. Trump has advocated a "merit-based" system, but has not proposed any method of admitting immigrants to the USA to replace those categories.

In family-based immigration, adult American citizens can petition for residency for their parents, adult married children and siblings.

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

Experts estimate those measures would cut legal immigration into the US almost in half.

Wildes wouldn't say how long the Knavses have lived in the US.

Typically, naturalisation ceremonies at 26 Federal Plaza are large events, where groups of immigrants are sworn in as citizens en masse, after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance.

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

Trump hasn't commented or tweeted about his in-laws' newfound citizenship.

Amalija is 73. The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling.

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