First lady Melania Trump’s parents have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their green cards, The Washington Post reports.
An attorney for Viktor and Amalija Knavs confirmed to the newspaper that Mrs. Trump’s parents are “lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents,” but declined to comment further, including on how or when they obtained green cards, citing the family’s desire for privacy.
The report comes amid swirling speculation that the couple was given legal status based on family reunification, also called “chain migration” by detractors, which President Trump has repeatedly called on Congress to end.
Sources with knowledge of the family’s immigration status told the Post that the couple is waiting for a date for their swearing-in ceremony to become U.S. citizens.
Several immigration experts told the Post that it is very likely that Melania Trump sponsored her parents, who are reportedly retired, 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,” said David Leopold, the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
President Trump has repeatedly called for an end to “chain migration” for extended family members and has identified it as one of the four pillars he says must be included in immigration legislation.
“Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives,” he said in his State of the Union speech.
He added: “Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security and our future.”
The White House declined to comment on this report.