Melania Trump's parents are well on their way to becoming American citizens, according to a new report.
Viktor and Amalija Knavs have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are living in the county on green cards, their immigration attorney, Michael Wildes, told the Washington Post.
"I can confirm that Mrs. Trump’s parents are both lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents," Wildes said. "The family, as they are not part of the administration, has asked that their privacy be respected so I will not comment further on this matter."
The report comes following speculation that the Slovenian-born couple relied on a family reunification process that President Trump has derisively referred to as "chain migration" and has proposed ending in similar cases.
In last month’s State of the Union address, the president called the current immigration system "broken" and said that under it "a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives." He said his plan focuses "on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children."
But one immigration expert told the Post that so-called "chain migration" is the most likely explanation for the Knavses' situation.
Matthew Kolken, a partner at a New York immigration law firm, said that the only logical methods through which the first lady's parents could have obtained green cards would be through their daughter or an employer sponsoring them. The latter, the Post concludes, is unlikely, because it would require proving that there were no Americans who could do the jobs for which they were sought.
Viktor, 73, and Amalija, 71, are also reportedly retired. Viktor previously worked as a chauffeur and car salesman, and Amalija was a pattern-maker at a children's clothing factory.
Another immigration lawyer, David Leopold, said that it's likely that Melania Trump sponsored her parents for green cards.
"That would be the logical way to do it, the preferred way to do it and possibly the only way to do it under the facts that I know," Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told the Post.
A White House spokesman and a spokeswoman for the First Lady declined to comment.
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