Melania's parents become United States citizens under rules her husband despises

Amalija and Viktor Knavs parents of First Lady Melania Trump arrive with their lawyer Michael Wildes at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building

Amalija and Viktor Knavs parents of First Lady Melania Trump arrive with their lawyer Michael Wildes at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building

A lawyer for Viktor and Amalija Knavs said that the first lady's Slovenian mom and dad took the citizenship oath on Thursday in Manhattan.

President Donald Trump's in-laws have been officially sworn in as US citizens. He wouldn't say who sponsored their green cards.

The lawyer acknowledged that the Knavses had obtained citizenship via the very pathway that their son-in-law, the president, has so publicly denounced.

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.

When Trump began her modelling career, while still a teenager, the whole family sensed opportunity, according to those who knew them in Slovenia.

Family-based immigration has been a frequent target of the president in his many tweets and speeches.

Standing alongside the Knavses, their lawyer said the couple had "travailed a wonderful journey, like most have, millions have in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time". They said little other than Viktor telling a reporter "thank you" when she asked how they felt about becoming Americans.

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"These doors that are in America remain hinged open to attractive people as they have today", Wildes said, adding, "We just thank everybody for their attention to this very important dialogue that we're having on immigration. This is an example of it going right".

In 1996, she moved to New York City where she worked as a model and met Donald Trump two years later.

Melania Trump became a United States citizen in 2006, after entering the U.S. on a coveted Einstein visa for people of "extraordinary ability" in 2001 when she was working as a model.

Melania Trump became a US citizen in 2006 after marrying Trump the year before. The Jacob J. Javits Federal Building, at 26 Federal Plaza, also houses immigration court and the local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, and its subsidiary, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Melania Trump was not present for the ceremony.

She settled in NY in 1996 and met Trump two years later. It's unclear when the Knavses obtained permanent residency in the US, the Times reports, but Wildes said they met the five year requirement.

New citizens are normally minted on Fridays, they said, and often the ceremonies are held at the federal courthouse across the street. Wildes told the newspaper that the Knavs fulfilled the five-year requirement, but declined to give further comment.

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