Source: Melania used 'chain migration' visa

Melania Trump used the same so-called "chain migration" visa that the President publicly rails against to get her parents US citizenship, a source tells CNN.

Posted: Aug 12, 2018 2:49 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2018 3:05 PM

President Donald Trump's in-laws are officially United States citizens, obtaining their citizenship through the sponsorship of their adult daughter, one of the very categories of family visas that the administration has sought to end.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, the parents of first lady Melania Trump, were granted citizenship Thursday, their immigration attorney, Michael Wildes, announced.

"It went well and they are very grateful and appreciative of this wonderful day for their family," he said in a statement to CNN.

The first lady's office declined to comment.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who are from Slovenia, had been living in the United States with green cards and have been frequently spotted in Washington since their son-in-law assumed the presidency.

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 US indefinitely and paved the way for citizenship. That type of family visa is exactly one of the categories that Trump and his allies have tried to repeal, saying they are harmful to the US.

Wildes wouldn't comment on how the Knavs received their green cards or citizenship Thursday, but criticized the Trump administration's immigration policies to CNN.

"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.

Pressed on the fact that the President has harshly criticized family-based migration and regularly refers to it as "chain migration," Wildes responded: "I can't comment on the President's politics when it comes to my clients but I have stood up against the President's immigration policies personally."

There are only a handful of ways that immigrants to the US can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections. A smaller number go to immigrants based on their employment, and other categories include refugees and other special cases. 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.

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.

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. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the US by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category. Trump has advocated a "merit-based" system, but has not proposed any method of admitting immigrants to the US to replace those categories.

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.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 71°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Mostly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 71°
Williamsport
Mostly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 65°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Comfortable weekend with a few spotty showers & t'showers...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 771299

Reported Deaths: 14005
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1059471808
Lake570611031
Allen43193700
Hamilton37458426
St. Joseph37420568
Elkhart29819471
Tippecanoe23584231
Vanderburgh23431405
Porter19616327
Johnson18899394
Hendricks18168323
Clark13623199
Madison13604348
Vigo12908256
Monroe12626178
LaPorte12594225
Delaware11183198
Howard10747237
Kosciusko9810124
Hancock8799150
Bartholomew8296157
Warrick8150157
Floyd8072183
Grant7397181
Wayne7254201
Boone7236105
Morgan6948143
Marshall6358117
Dubois6301118
Cass6110112
Dearborn604078
Noble603590
Henry5971111
Jackson518677
Shelby512898
Lawrence4961127
Gibson467296
Montgomery461392
Clinton458455
DeKalb458485
Harrison456977
Huntington421382
Whitley418645
Steuben412861
Miami407273
Jasper402556
Knox393191
Putnam386862
Wabash371684
Adams355356
Ripley352771
Jefferson347187
White340954
Daviess3098100
Wells304881
Greene295985
Decatur293493
Fayette287464
Posey285435
Scott283458
LaGrange278472
Clay276049
Washington255637
Randolph248283
Jennings240449
Spencer239731
Fountain237250
Starke230859
Owen224759
Sullivan222943
Fulton209545
Jay203432
Carroll198822
Orange192756
Perry191939
Vermillion181944
Rush178627
Tipton173848
Franklin173035
Parke156816
Pike143434
Blackford138232
Pulaski124048
Newton123736
Benton110515
Brown106443
Crawford106316
Martin92715
Warren88015
Switzerland8488
Union73710
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events