While hundreds of migrant children remain separated from their parents — many of whom were deported before they could be reunited with the kids that were taken from them at the U.S. border — there's one high-profile immigrant who no longer needs to worry about the legal status of her parents: Melania Trump.
The First Lady's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were officially granted citizenship on Thursday at a private ceremony in Manhattan through a family-based immigration program, also known as chain migration. Sound familiar? That's because Donald Trump has railed against the process in the past, calling it dangerous, and tweeting that, "Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!”
According to the New York Times, chain migration is defined as the process by which "adult American citizens obtain residency for their relatives." When asked whether the Knavses — who originally hail from Slovenia, where they had and raised Melania — had obtained citizenship through chain migration, their lawyer told reporters, "I suppose."
Per the Times, the First Lady sponsored her parents for their green cards, and once they met the eligibility requirements (which include having the green card for 5 years), they applied for citizenship. Obtaining naturalization status through this process can take months to decades, "depending on the country of origin, a sponsor’s immigration status, and the applicant’s relationship to their sponsor," though in New York City the process takes approximately 11 to 21 months.
It is unclear when they obtained their green cards (that information is protected under privacy laws), however, they have reportedly been permanent residents of the U.S. since February and split their time between New York, Palm Beach, and the White House.
Reactions on Twitter, naturally, were ruthless, as many called out the Trump administration for their hypocritical stance on so-called chain migration. Others, still, pointed out that Melania herself had promised to hold a press conference to tell her immigration story, and never followed through.
At least we have ... Space Force?