Melania Trump's parents get USA citizenship

Melania Trump's parents sworn in as US citizens report

First lady Melania Trump's parents became US citizens in a naturalization ceremony in NY on Thursday, completing a years-long immigration process even as President Trump has called for new laws to bar Americans from sponsoring parents and other relatives.

President Donald Trump's in-laws are officially United States citizens, obtaining their citizenship through the sponsorship of their adult daughter, one of the very categories of family visas that the administration has sought to end.

The Times noted that the couple would have to have their green cards for five years to become eligible for citizenship.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs took the citizenship oath on August 9, their lawyer, Michael Wildes, confirmed to Fox News. He wouldn't say who sponsored their green cards.

Amid a bitter debate over immigration - particularly the Trump administration's separation of children from families crossing the border illegally - Wildes said the Knavses' attaining citizenship was "an example of it going right".

The president in January proposed ending most family-based immigration and replacing it with a skills-based system.

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Advocates for restricting legal immigration have pointed to the imbalance in favour of family connections as evidence of the need for reform, calling for a "merit-based" system that would choose immigrants based on need in the US.

Trump has taken a hardline on immigration policy, criticizing so-called main migration that allows naturalized U.S. citizens to sponsor close relatives for permanent residency.

New citizens are normally minted on Fridays, they said, and often the ceremonies are held at the federal courthouse across the street.

The Knavs raised Melania Trump in the rural town of Sevnica when Slovenia was a part of communist Yugoslavia.

First lady Melania Trump and mother Amalija Knavs walk to board the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House on June 29.

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

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