Melania Trump's parents are sworn in as US citizens
Melania Trump's parents are sworn in as US citizens
10 August, 2018, 11:02
Trump has advocated a "merit-based" system, but has not proposed any method of admitting immigrants to the U.S. to replace those categories.
The first lady's office declined to comment.
The Knavses' lawyer said they had "travailed a wonderful journey".
Watch:The application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody else's other than the security arrangements to facilitate today.
"This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to lovely people as they have today", Wildes said after the ceremony, according to The Associated Press.
Mr Wildes toldCNN that as of February, the couple was living in the U.S. on green cards - a status that allows them to live and work in the USA indefinitely and paves the way for citizenship. "This is a very important example of it going right".
President Donald Trump has always been a vocal critic of "chain migration", or the process of giving relatives of naturalized citizens legal status due to their family connections.
Melania Trump became a USA citizen in 2006, after entering the USA on a coveted Einstein visa for people of "extraordinary ability" in 2001 when she was working as a model. The first lady herself was granted citizenship in 2006.
The couple was escorted to and from the Manhattan ceremony by Homeland Security police. Melania Trump was not present for the ceremony.
She settled in NY in 1996 and met Mr. Trump two years later. He confirmed that the first lady sponsored their green cards. Under immigration statutes, the Knavses 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.
Just months ago, on May 2, the couple was seen at a federal building in NY with their immigration attorney, Michael Wildes. The report quoted their lawyer as saying that the couple had met the five-year requirement, but added, "I can't give further comment".
The Knavs' immigration attorney accompanied the couple to the ceremony.
The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush around the Jacob K Javits Federal Building.
The USCIS district director Thomas Cioppa presided over the ceremony, Wildes said.
Melania grew up in a two bedroom apartment in Sevnica, a small city formerly under communist control. Amalija Knavs had harvested onions on her family's farm, then worked in a textile factory, and sewed her two daughters' clothes.
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