Melania Trump's parents get US citizenship under programme slammed by Trump

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In a phone call after the ceremony, Wildes described the process by which the US First Lady's parents had become US citizens.

The Slovenian-born parents of US First Lady Melania Trump became US citizens at a naturalisation ceremony in NY on Thursday, their immigration lawyer Michael Wildes confirmed to AFP.

Security guards and US Citizenship and Immigration Services workers in offices adorned with Donald Trump's portrait said they were unaware of anyone being sworn in there on Thursday.

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".

President Trump has previously spoken out against family-based migration, calling instead for a system that prioritises professionals and skilled migrants over relatives of... I've had the privilege of coming to this building for more than 30 years working with some of the finest families and individuals [.] This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to lovely people as they have today.

Melania Trump was born Melania Knavs in what was then the communist country of Yugoslavia and later changed her surname to Knauss.

Under US law they must have been permanent residents for five years before applying to become citizens, and the time to process an application can take several months thereafter.

The Knavses took their oath of citizenship at a federal building guarded by police from the Department of Homeland Security. The Slovenian couple had been living in the U.S as permanent residents.

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Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and political commentator, tweeted, "I guess when it's Melania's Family, it's "family reunification" and should be applauded". She became a United States citizen in 2006.

However it's unclear whether their green cards were granted by a process the President has sought to end.

The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building.

Presiding over the ceremony was NY district director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Thomas Cioppa.

The Knavses raised Melania in the rural industrial town of Sevnica while Slovenia was under the Communist rule. According to news reports, Melania came to the United States in 2001 on a so-called Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" as a model.

Melania Trump, who has been vacationing with her husband in Bedminster, New Jersey, did not accompany her parents.

Viktor, 74, is two years older than President Trump. Viktor, 74, was a vehicle dealer while Amalija, 73, worked in a textile factory. She was in Bedminster, New Jersey, at the Trump National Golf Club, where Trump is now staying.

He went on: "It seems like we now have two immigration systems".