Melania Trump's immigrant parents become U.S. residents

23 February, 2018, 03:36 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Lawyer says Melania Trump's parents are legally US permanent residents 2222018

The Slovenian parents of first lady Melania Trump are legal permanent residents of the United States, according to the lawyer representing them in the process - raising questions about whether they are living in the U.S. by the very means President Donald Trump has strongly criticized and sought to end.

Slovenian-born Viktor and Amalija Knavs have been granted permanent residency, and will become full American citizens in the coming months, reports the Washington Post.

The likelihood that the Knavs could have been sponsored by Melania Trump or another family member raises the issue of what the President has called "chain migration", or family-based migration.

One option, an employment-based green card, is unlikely, as neither Viktor Knavs nor Amalija Knavs meet the eligibility criteria for any of the so-called EB visa categories. He's endorsed legislation that would prevent immigrants from sponsoring their parents and only allow them to sponsor spouses and minor children.

A White House spokesman and a spokeswoman for the first lady declined to comment, the paper said.

"If somebody came to me and asked me how to become a citizen, the first question I would ask is 'Do you have an American citizen as a relative?'" said Theresa Cardinal Brown, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

The first lady's parents' immigration history has been an open question for some time, but it has taken on greater salience in light of President Trump's demand that chain migration be eliminated in a deal to give amnesty to younger illegal immigrants.

After their daughter moved to the United States, the Knavses joined her, living on and off with the Trumps.

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She arrived in NY in 1996, but is alleged to have begun working as a model in the US before obtaining the right visa that allowed her to do so illegally.

Several years ago, their attorneys contacted the office of Sen. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the USA by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category.

Such efforts are not unusual, and some congressional staffs, including Schumer's, have a dedicated immigration case worker to handle such requests.

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".

'Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children'.

Trump underscored his position in a February 6 tweet. Advocates for restricting legal immigration have pointed to the imbalance in favor 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.

Democrats and some Republicans have opposed that measure.

The White House declined to comment to the Post.


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