Meet the newest US citizens: Melania Trump’s parents

Tabitha Dunn
August 10, 2018

First lady Melania Trump's parents are now U.S. citizens.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump's Slovenian-born parents, took the oath of citizenship in NY on Thursday, their lawyer confirmed.

Wildes told ABC News "they applied on their own". He wouldn't say who sponsored their green cards.

Their lawyer said the couple had met the five-year requirement, but added, "I can't give further comment".

Viktor Knavs is 74, two years older than his son-in-law.

The Knavs were sworn in as US citizens on Thursday in Lower Manhattan, The New York Times reported.

"I believe strongly in the principles of family reunification, which is a bedrock of immigration policy and law and has brought millions of people happily to our shores", Wildes said.

The president proposed replacing most family-based immigration with a skills-based system after an attempted bombing by a Bangladeshi immigrant in NY last December.

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Melania Trump - who has been vacationing with her husband U.S. President Donald Trump in Bedminster, N.J. - did not accompany her parents.

Along with targeting illegal immigration, Donald Trump has proposed sharply curbing legal immigration. He also called for eliminating a visa lottery program for people from countries underrepresented in the US.

In family-based immigration, adult American citizens can petition for residency for their parents, adult married children and siblings. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the U.S. by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category.

Typically, naturalisation ceremonies at 26 Federal Plaza are large events, where groups of immigrants are sworn in as citizens en masse, after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance.

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.

The Knavses, both in their 70s, raised Melania Trump in Sevnica, a Slovenian town of around 4,500 people.

She attended high school in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling.

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