Wednesday, February 21, 2018
The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their green cards. Immigration experts said Viktor and Amalija Knavs very likely relied on a family reunification process that President Trump has derided as "chain migration" and proposed ending in such cases.
Questions over the Knavses' immigration status have escalated since Trump campaigned for the White House on a hard-line anti-immigration agenda. Those questions grew sharper last month, when the president proposed ending the decades-long ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their parents and siblings for legal residency in the United States.
Trump has repeatedly blasted the long-standing policy as "chain migration." In last month's State of the Union, the president called that process a threat to Americans' security and quality of life. Under his plan, he said, only spouses and minor children could be sponsored for legal residency.
But immigration experts said such a path would have been the most likely method his in-laws would have used to obtain residency that permits them to live in the United States.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 30, Trump offered a four-point immigration reform plan that he said "protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration."
"Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives," the president said in his speech. "Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future."
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