STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Kokomo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 59°
Rensselaer
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Fowler
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 57°
Williamsport
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Crawfordsville
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 58°
Frankfort
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 60°
Delphi
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Monticello
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 63°
Logansport
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 61°
Continued Comfortable Temperatures
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69255

Reported Deaths: 2996
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15029724
Lake7139273
Elkhart463077
Allen3662158
St. Joseph320379
Hamilton2543104
Hendricks1774105
Vanderburgh176312
Cass17549
Johnson1667118
Porter120939
Tippecanoe111811
Clark110945
Madison86265
LaPorte84329
Howard82465
Kosciusko82213
Bartholomew74847
Marshall74422
Floyd71845
Monroe69530
Delaware65452
Boone64446
Dubois64312
Noble63729
Hancock62838
Jackson5544
LaGrange54610
Warrick52830
Shelby52226
Vigo50910
Grant50729
Dearborn47328
Morgan43732
Henry36418
Clinton3603
White34710
Montgomery34221
Wayne33410
Lawrence33127
Decatur31832
Harrison30022
Miami2592
Scott25210
Daviess24919
Greene24034
Putnam2338
Franklin22911
DeKalb2214
Jennings21312
Jasper2102
Gibson2024
Steuben2013
Ripley1907
Perry17212
Orange16424
Starke1647
Fayette1627
Wabash1613
Posey1600
Jefferson1522
Carroll1482
Whitley1486
Fulton1472
Knox1340
Wells1342
Huntington1193
Tipton1176
Washington1171
Spencer1123
Newton11110
Randolph1074
Clay1015
Adams822
Owen821
Jay810
Rush804
Sullivan781
Pulaski711
Brown701
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford552
Ohio514
Parke481
Pike470
Crawford440
Switzerland430
Martin420
Vermillion420
Union330
Warren191
Unassigned0202

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