United States President Donald Trump's Slovenian in-laws on Thursday became American citizens through a family-based immigration programme that the president has publicly opposed, The New York Times reported.
A source with direct knowledge of Melania Trump's parents and their immigration status told CNN that Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards, a status that allowed them to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely and paved the way for citizenship.
Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as USA citizens.
"It's a dirty - a dirtier word", he said, adding that "it stands for a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification".
I know it sounds extreme, but I'm 100-percent certain it's what President Trump would want us, as patriots, to do.
The Knavses came and went from the ceremony at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Homeland Security police.
Their attorney, Michael Wildes, called the couple "beautiful people" and took a moment to draw attention to the process of legal immigration. "It's the current system", he said.
The Knavses frequently travel with the Trumps and split their time between New York, Palm Beach and Washington, where they stay in the White House, the NYT report added.
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The Republican president argues that the system steals jobs from Americans and threatens national security, calling for a merit-based system that preferences more educated, English-speaking professionals.
There are only a handful of ways immigrants can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections.
Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who are from Slovenia, had previously been living in the U.S.as legal permanent residents with green cards.
Melania Trump, who has been vacationing with her husband in Bedminster, New Jersey, did not accompany her parents.
Under immigration law, Melania Trump's parents would need to have possessed green cards for at least five years before they could apply for citizenship. According to news reports, Melania came to the USA in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" as a model.
Viktor, 74, is two years older than President Trump.
Presiding over the ceremony was NY district director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Thomas Cioppa. But cracking down on individuals who entered the United States without a visa has not been his only priority; he's also made it even more hard for immigrants to come to the country legally.
Their daughter, Melania, was raised under Communist rule in the town of Sevnica where her father worked as a auto dealer and her mom in a textile factory. Viktor was a auto dealer while Amalija worked in a textile factory.