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10 August 2018, 08:28 | Regina Holmes
Michael Wildes, the attorney for the first lady's parents Viktor and Amalija Knavs, told The New York Times on Thursday that their daughter had sponsored them for a green card, and that they applied for citizenship once they were eligible.
"This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to handsome people as they have today", Wildes said.
Viktor is 74, two years older than President Donald Trump. Trump has decried "chain migration", where adult USA citizens can obtain residency for their relatives, and tweeted on November 1, 2017, "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! This is an example of it going right", he said.
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The first lady's office declined to comment.
The president proposed replacing most family-based immigration with a skills-based system after an attempted bombing by a Bangladeshi immigrant in NY last December.
Under US immigration law, Melania's parents would need to have had green cards for at least five years before they could apply for citizenship.
In family-based immigration, adult American citizens can petition for residency for their parents, adult married children and siblings. He also called for eliminating a visa lottery program for people from countries under-represented in the U.S.
The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building. Thomas Cioppa, New York district director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, presided over the 20-minute ceremony, Mr Wildes said.
He went on: "It seems like we now have two immigration systems".
Melania Trump became a US citizen in 2006 after marrying Trump the year before.
The couple are natives of Slovenia, where they raised Melania, but have been in the USA for more than a decade, says their immigration lawyer, per CNBC.
Melania Trump was born in 1970 and during her childhood Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, was ruled by Josip Broz Tito, a communist dictator who nonetheless allowed more freedoms than other Eastern bloc leaders.
Around the same time the Knavses were completing the ceremony, he was tweeting his rage about the ongoing Russian Federation probe ("an illegally brought Rigged Witch Hunt") and his excitement about plans for a sixth branch of the military ("Space Force all the way!").
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