Melania's Parents Appear to Have Used 'Chain Migration' System Trump Attacks

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Trump has proposed ending the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their parents and siblings - suggesting that only spouses and minor children could be sponsored for legal residency.

First Lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, are green-card holders are on the verge of obtaining USA citizenship, according to their family lawyer. Wildes did not explain how they got those green cards, raising the prospect they were sponsored based on what Trump has called "chain migration".

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, like their daughter, are from Slovenia.

The Knavs' immigration attorney, Michael Wildes, told CNN that as of February, the couple are living in the United States on green cards - a status that allows them to live and work in the USA indefinitely and paves the way for citizenship.

Although the Knavses could have been sponsored for permanent residence by an employer, this is "unlikely", the Post reported, given that the first lady's father, 73, and mother, 71, are thought to be retired.

There are a limited number of paths the Knavses could have used to legally immigrate.

Immigration layer David Leopold said that Melania's sponsorship of her parents likely allowed them to obtain green cards. Advocates for restricting legal immigration have pointed to the imbalance in favor of family connections as evidence of the need for reform, calling for a "merit-based" system that would choose immigrants based on need in the US.

USA first lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor Knavs (L) and Amalija Knavs step off off Air Force One upon arrival in Morristown, New Jersey on June 30, 2017.

Melania Trump became a USA citizen in 2001 - a year after she and President Trump were married. A majority of the roughly one million foreigners who are allowed to enter the United States to become permanent residents every years can do so because they're related to Americans.

A spokesman for the Knavs confirmed their status as permanent residents, adding: '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'.

"Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children", Trump said during his State of the Union address last month.

Questions about the couple's immigration status have escalated ever since Trump espoused an anti-immigrant agenda during and after his race for the White House.

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