Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Lawyer says Melania Trump's parents are legally USA permanent residents

Viktor and Amalija Knavs the parents of US First Lady Melania Trump are seen walking across the South Lawn of the White House Viktor and Amalija Knavs the parents of US First Lady Melania Trump are seen walking across the South Lawn of the White House
Melinda Barton | 22 February, 2018, 02:03

First lady Melania Trump's parents have become permanent USA residents, their lawyer said Wednesday, apparently taking advantage of a family unification program pilloried by the president.

The Washington Post reports that Viktor and Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump's parents, "very likely" relied on the chain migration program to obtain green cards.

While the first lady's parents may be beneficiaries of the immigration program, that hasn't stopped President Donald Trump from railing against the program in the past. Under an immigration plan he described during last month's State of the Union, citizens would only be allowed to sponsor their spouses and minor children.

The Washington Post first reported on the Knavs.

It's a policy Trump called a threat to Americans' security and quality of life in last month's State of the Union address.

"Chain migration" is a program where US citizens and permanent residents are allowed to sponsor close non-citizen family members for a green card.

Once in possession of a green card, immigrants who live in the country continuously can apply for citizenship after five years.

Though the establishment media has sought to make the case for continuing chain migration by interjecting Trump's family and his advisers' ancestry into the immigration debate, the White House's efforts to end chain migration have been centered on the lack of support the process has with the American public, the national security vulnerabilities intertwined in chain migration, and its negative, wage-crushing impact on working and middle-class American communities.

Both the Knavses are reportedly retired.

Melania Trump came to the United States from Slovenia in 1996 for modelling work on a visitor's visa and then a work permit. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., now the Democratic minority leader, for help checking on the status of their petition for a green card with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to a person familiar with the outreach. She became a USA citizen in 2006, the year after she and Trump were married. "Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children".

In his State of the Union address on January 30, Trump blasted "the current broken system" for allowing a single immigrant to "bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives". "This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future", he said.

Trump underscored his position in a February 6 tweet.

While Trump and people who have a conservative stance on chain migration may deride the program, there are several misconceptions about it.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Wednesday.