While the United States is wrestling with questions of how to deal with immigration of all kinds, some folks are still making their way towards becoming citizens. Well, Melania Trump's parents are now U.S. citizens, according to CNN. Welcome aboard, you two.
On Aug. 9, Viktor and Amalija Knavs' attorney Michael Wildes told CNN that Melania Trump's parents have been granted U.S. citizenship. "It went well and they are very grateful and appreciative of this wonderful day for their family," Wildes told CNN in a statement.
Trump's parents hail from Slovenia, but have been living in the United States with green cards since February. The couple is a bit on the mysterious side, but they have been spotted visiting Washington D.C. a few times since their son-in-law Donald Trump took office. Their new citizenship is probably good news to the Knavs, so congrats to them. However, it is a bit ironic that the couple have received legal status now, since the Trump administration is reportedly attempting to limit citizenship for legal immigrants. On Aug. 7, NBC reported that the administration plans to unveil a policy that would not only limit citizenship, but also limit legal immigrants' access to green cards based on their use of certain social services.
Rumors about the Trump administration limiting U.S. citizenship to immigrants started swirling in February, but fast forward to August and it looks like changes might actually be underway. According to NBC, the reported proposal has reached the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is the final stage before going into the registrar as an official policy, as the reported new policy does not need to be voted on by Congress. Once reports surfaced, a spokesperson for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shared a statement to Elite Daily pertaining to the reported citizenship policy.
The statement read,
The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S are self-sufficient. Any proposed changes would ensure that the government takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer funds seriously and adjudicates immigration benefit requests in accordance with the law.
Elite Daily also reached out to OMB and DHS' U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a comment at the time, but did not hear back.
Under the reported policy, the administration would limit access to citizenship and green cards based on whether legal immigrants use social services such as food stamps or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Legal immigrants' dependence on these services has impacted citizenship applications in the past, but the reported new policy states that using these social services could disqualify a candidate all together. That's a huge shift.
Although we may never know how the citizenship process went for Viktor and Amalija Knavs, there has been some speculation that the couple could have received their legal status through migrant family reunification, which allows immigrants to follow family members who are currently living in another country. Ironically enough, Donald Trump has openly condemned this immigration policy during a February interview with The Washington Post, and said he wants to end it.
Immigration is a major topic of debate right now, but it's always good to see new Americans welcomed. Maybe the president's spirit of welcoming immigrants will go further in future.