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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 11:59 AM
Updated: Aug 12, 2018 12:05 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.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
Alameda67952765
Ventura62101436
San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
Stanislaus42882758
Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
Santa Barbara25083236
Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
Tuolumne338240
Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
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Chico
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As expected, we had much quieter weather around northern California on Wednesday with plenty of sunshine, much weaker wind, and a wide range of temperatures. Thursday will be similar, but much more active weather is coming.
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