You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Melania Trump's parents become US citizens

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 10-08-2018 Rozina Sabur
UP NEXT
UP NEXT
 (Provided by Reuters)

First lady Melania Trump's parents have become US citizens after taking the citizenship oath during a ceremony on Thursday. 

A lawyer for Viktor and Amalija Knavs revealed the Slovenian couple, who had already been living in the US as permanent residents, took the citizenship oath in New York City.

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

a man wearing a suit and tie: Viktor and Amalija Knavs were sworn in as US citizens in a ceremony in New York © AP Viktor and Amalija Knavs were sworn in as US citizens in a ceremony in New York

There has been speculation that the President Donald Trump's in-laws may have benefited from the “chain migration” process that he has claimed endangers Americans and vowed to restrict. 

According to experts, there are two main ways the First Lady's parents could have achieved citizenship status - either through sponsorship from their daughter or an employer. 

The latter is unlikely, since applicants must prove they could do a job no other American could. 

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: The Knavses with their lawyer, Michael Wildes, who made a statement in New York © AP The Knavses with their lawyer, Michael Wildes, who made a statement in New York

Mr Knavs, who at 74, is two years older than Mr Trump, is thought to have worked as a car dealer while Mrs Knavs, 73, worked in a textile factory. Both are now believed to be retired.

Mr Trump has been a repeated critic of what he calls “chain migration”, where immigrants can bring relatives into America after moving themselves. 

Under the current rules, US citizens can sponsor their parents and siblings to get legal residency in the country. Mr Trump has called it a "broken system" and wants to limit the rules to just spouses and young children. 

Viktor, right, and Amalija Knavs arrive to take the oath of citizenship with their attorney Michael Wildes in New York, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as U.S. citizens. Wildes says the Slovenian couple took the citizenship oath on Thursday in New York City. They had been living in the U.S. as permanent residents. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © AP Viktor, right, and Amalija Knavs arrive to take the oath of citizenship with their attorney Michael Wildes in New York, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as U.S. citizens. Wildes says the Slovenian couple took the citizenship oath on Thursday in New York City. They had been living in the U.S. as permanent residents. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Knavses raised Melania in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under Communist rule. The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling. She settled in New York in 1996 and met Mr Trump two years later. 

It is unclear when Mrs Trump's parents arrived in the US but Michael Wildes, an immigration lawyer who represents the First Lady and her family, has previously confirmed the pair were both lawfully admitted to America as permanent residents.

“The family, as they are not part of the administration, has asked that their privacy be respected, so I will not comment further on this matter,” he said

More from The Telegraph

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon