Viktor and Amalija Knavs, the parents of first lady Melania Trump, were granted citizenship Thursday, their immigration attorney, Michael Wildes, announced. "This is an example of it going right", he said. Picture: AAP (AAP) Mrs Trump was raised in the rural town of Sevnica, Slovenia. The couple's exact path to citizenship isn't clear, but one likely possibility is that their daughter's citizenship helped them get green cards first, reports CNBC. She moved to the United States in 1996. As CNN notes, critics have pointed out that President Trump wants to end that type of family-based migration.
There are only a handful of ways that immigrants to the USA can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections. Green cards can also be obtained through employment, receiving asylum or refugee status, or in other special circumstances.
The idea that family-based immigration could be labeled as "dirty" might have a lot to do with the Knavs' son-in-law.
Mr Trump and his congressional allies have fought to slash that dramatically, limiting sponsorship to spouses and minor children, including dropping the threshold for minor children from 21 to 18.
Viktor and Amalija Knavs, 73 and 71 years old, respectively, are retired, and they maintain regular contact with the Trump family, often traveling with the first family on trips to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster, New Jersey. "I've been a very staunch advocate against the president's policies myself as an immigration lawyer", Wildes said.
Mr Knavs was a vehicle dealer while Ms Knavs worked in a textile factory.
The Knavses slipped in and out of a side entrance at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Department of Homeland Security police.
The Knavses are from Slovenia, but now divide their time between New York City, Palm Beach, and Washington, D.C., where they stay with the Trumps in the White House.