Melania Trump news: Parents gained US citizenship using visa opposed by Donald Trump
Melania Trump, 48, is the daughter of Slovenian’s Viktor and Amalija Knavs, being born in the rural town of Sevnica, Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia.
She has been living in the US for 22 years, now the wife of the president and the country’s first lady.
Now Melania’s parents have been granted US citizenship, by using a visa that is actually opposed by her husband.
Melania’s parents applied for a family visa, something that her Donald Trump’s administration is trying to limit the use of. Currently, a family visa is only granted to the parents, adult siblings, adult children or married and unmarried partners of American citizens. Donald wants to limit this to just spouses and minor children – meaning Melania’s parents would not have qualified if the rules were changed.
Her parents were granted US citizenship yesterday, with their immigration attorney Michael Wildes announcing the news.
In a statement to CNN, he wrote: “It went well and they are very grateful and appreciative of this wonderful day for their family.
Viktor and Amalija have been living in the US with green cards and are frequently spotted in Washington DC since Donald became president, spending time with their daughter and son-in-law.
Viktor and Amalija are both retired and are often spotted on family trips with the Trump family, most recently to Bedminster, New Jersey.
A source told CNN Melania had previously sponsored her parents for their green cards – this has not been officially confirmed by Trump or her representatives. Her sister Ines, lives in New York and could also be an American citizen, meaning she would also have qualified to sponsor her parents.
Green cards allow holders to live and work in the US indefinitely, but this does not mean full citizenship, which is what Viktor and Amalia Knavs have now been granted after living in the US under a green card for many years.
The type of family visa that her parents have is one of the ones their son-in-law is actually trying to abolish – claiming they are harmful to the US.
Addressing the fact that he used a policy opposed by the president to get the First Lady’s parents citizenship, Michael added: “I believe strongly in the principles of family reunification, which is a bedrock of immigration policy and law and has brought millions of people happily to our shores.
“I can’t comment on the president’s politics when it comes to my clients but I have stood up against the president’s immigration policies personally.”
Following the news of their citizenship, Melania’s office and spokeswoman have declined to comment on the way they were granted it.
US citizenship is tricky to obtain, with only a small number of ways permitted for immigrants to be granted US citizenship.
The largest share of green cards are given out on familial connections, then to immigrants based on their employment and then to refugees and special cases. You can only apply for full citizenship after living in the US with a green card for a minimum of five years.
Donald and his administration are fighting to change the way citizenship is awarded, limiting sponsorship to spouses and minor children, including dropping the age of minor children from 21 to 18.
Many experts are in fact saying that this could cut US immigration rates by as much as 50 per cent.
This isn’t the first time Melania has had opposing views to her husband, recently speaking out after Donald insulted basketball star LeBron James.
Following an interview by the sports star in which he criticised Donald Trump, the president took to Twitter to insult the athlete’s intelligence.
Melania then appeared to take LeBron’s side, issuing a statement showing her support for the star and all the work he is doing for children across the US.