First Lady's Parents Become US Citizens

Tonya Becker
August 10, 2018

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, the parents of first lady Melania Trump, were granted US citizenship on Thursday through a process President Trump wants to eliminate.

First lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in as United States citizens on Thursday. And yet, here are his wife's parents, gladly getting the USA citizenship that their son-in-law wants to virtually bring to an end within the next couple of years.

"It stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification", he added to The Times.

According to the report, the first lady's communications director Stephanie Grisham said since the Knavses are not part of the administration, she is not commenting on them.

Viktor Knavs is 74, two years older than his son-in-law.


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

During a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers in January, for example, Trump said, "Chain migration is bringing in many, many people with one, and often it doesn't work out very well". Politico said the parents were "expected to become more familiar figures around the White House, helping care for Barron, though they don't plan to relocate full time to Washington". He wouldn't say who sponsored their green cards.

Their son-in-law has frequently attacked U.S. immigration laws, calling them the "dumbest laws on immigration in the world".

Trump has sought to eliminate family-based sponsorship, which he calls "chain migration", and replace it with merit-based citizenship programs.

They came and went from the ceremony at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Homeland Security police.


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

The Knavs' immigration attorney accompanied the couple to the ceremony. She was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where Trump is now staying.

Mr Wildes told CNN that as of February, the couple was living in the United States on green cards - a status that allows them to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely and paves the way for citizenship. The Slovenian immigrants, a former vehicle dealer and textile factory worker, had been living in the U.S.as permanent residents.

The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush around the Jacob K Javits Federal Building.

The couple met in Sevnica, Slovenia in 1966, and Melania was born in the same town.


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