Lawyer: Melania Trump's parents are permanent USA residents

Viktor and Amalija Knavs parents of first lady Melania Trump are seen on the tarmac after they stepped off Air Force One upon arrival at West Palm Beach Florida

A lawyer representing Melania Trump's parents has said they are living legally in the US.

"I can confirm that Mrs Trump's parents are both lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents", lawyer Michael Wildes said in a statement.

Mr Wildes declined further comment, including discussing when the couple would be eligible for citizenship or how their permanent residency was obtained.

They appear to have taken advantage of a system that Donald Trump has dubbed "chain migration" and has promised to end.

President Donald Trump has pushed to restrain workers' capacity to support relatives to go along with them in the US, and called such family reunification "chain movement".

Viktor and Amalija Knavs, parents of first lady Melania Trump, are seen on the tarmac after they stepped off Air Force One upon arrival at West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 17, 2017.

Immigration lawyer Matthew Kolken said it was more likely that the first lady sponsored her parents for green cards than another option, which is through employer sponsorship.

The Knavses await a schedule for their swearing-in ceremony as legal permanent residents and are close to becoming USA citizens, people familiar with their status and immigration filings told the Post.

The Washington Post first reported on the Knavs.

It reports the Slovenian couple are awaiting a date for their swearing-in ceremony.

But immigration experts said such a path would have been the most likely method his in-laws would have used to obtain residency that permits them to live in the United States. "Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children".

Melania became a citizen in 2006.

Quick refresher: USA citizens and green card holders can sponsor their extended family to bring them to the country.

Such efforts are not unusual and some congressional staffs, including Schumer's, have a dedicated immigration case worker to handle such requests.

In his State of the Union address on January 30, Trump offered a four-point immigration reform plan that he said "protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration". Under the White House framework for such a deal, family based visas would be pared down to just spouses and minor children.

Trump underscored his position in a February 6 tweet. 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. Tom Cotton's (R-AR) RAISE Act, which would end chain migration while creating a visa for the elderly parents of USA citizens for caretaking purposes.

Democrats and some Republicans have vociferously opposed that measure.

Last week, the Senate rejected a bipartisan proposal spearheaded by Sen.



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