First lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavsare, are now full US citizens
President Donald Trump's in-laws officially became United States citizens on Thursday but the details on how they got their citizenship were not revealed
First Lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were granted full US citizenship on Thursday at a federal court in New York City.
"Citizenship was just awarded," the Slovenian couple's immigration lawyer Michael Wildes said after accompanying them to the courthouse. The lawyer stated to ABC News at the courthouse that the First Lady’s parents became American citizens by applying on their own but did not elaborate on exactly through what means or program they became citizens. "They applied on their own," Wildes affirmed.
Wildes' response does not clarify whether or not they obtained citizenship through what their son-in-law President Trump has derisively called "chain migration" or whether the First Lady sponsored them.
Melania Trump’s parents and their lawyer just arrived for their naturalization ceremony in Manhattan. pic.twitter.com/xFpwb0cIG7— Annie Correal (@anniecorreal) August 9, 2018
Without commenting on the process to their citizenship, Wildes said, "They have travailed a wonderful journey like most have – millions have – in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time."
"The application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody else's other than security arrangements to facilitate today."
In February, Melania Trump's parents were confirmed as permanent residents of the United States after emigrating from Slovenia by Wildes.
"I can confirm that Mrs Trump’s parents are both lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents," Wildes said in a statement to ABC News in February. "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."
At the time, Wildes would not say how the Knavses received green cards to live and work in the US.
"The most obvious way that they would have become green card holders is by being the parents of a U.S. citizen – i.e. Melania Trump," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration professor at Cornell Law School to the same publication.
Ironically, this is a process that President Donald Trump has consistently referred to as "chain migration." The legal status of the president's in-laws has come under scrutiny after the Trump administration’s proposed crackdown on the process.