Meet the newest US citizens: Melania Trump’s parents

Amalija and Viktor Knavs parents of First Lady Melania Trump arrive with their lawyer Michael Wildes at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building

Melania Trump's parents get US citizenship

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, the parents of first lady Melania Trump, were granted US citizenship on Thursday through a process President Trump wants to eliminate.

First Lady Melania Trump's parents were sworn in as United States citizens on Thursday.

Viktor Knavs, a vehicle salesman in Slovenia, and Amalija, who worked in a textile factory, are over 70 years old, retired and pass much of the year in the United States, where they regularly spend time with their daughter and grandson Barron.

The Knavses slipped in and out of a side entrance at a Manhattan federal building flanked by Department of Homeland Security police.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News.

There are only a handful of ways that immigrants to the U.S. can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections. "Once they had the green card, they then applied for citizenship when they were eligible", he said.

The US allows a number of ways for US citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor family members to come to the US permanently, including categories for parents, adult siblings and adult children, married and unmarried.

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.

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The couple's lawyer said they had "travailed a wonderful journey".

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. He also called for eliminating a visa lottery program for people from countries underrepresented in the US.

Mr Knavs is 74, two years older than President Donald Trump.

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

Amalija is 73. The first lady, born Melanija, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling.

It is not infrequently the site of protests, but on Thursday, things were quiet as the first lady's parents came and went.

News of the ceremony prompted an immediate response on Twitter, with tweets ranging from "welcome!" to "unfreakingbelievable".

He maintains there should instead be a merit-based system, which prioritises professionals over relatives, and has drawn censure for his strident attacks on immigration laws and immigrants.

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