Melania Trump's parents may have used 'chain migration'

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Trump has proposed ending the ability of United States citizens to sponsor their parents and siblings - suggesting that only spouses and minor children could be sponsored for legal residency.

While Melania Trump's parents are permanent United States residents who legally immigrated to the country, the first lady's father and mother reportedly appear to have used the "chain migration" system - the same program Donald Trump has called to end.

Ironically, Trump has voiced his disdain for "chain migration" for much of his time as a candidate and president, especially lately.

Viktor Knavs, 73, is a former member of the Yugoslav Communist Party who worked as a chauffeur and auto salesman in Slovenia.

In 2000, Melania Trump self-sponsored herself for a green card based on her "extraordinary ability" as a model, according to information Melania Trump-immigration-attorney Michael J. Wildes released.

And immigration experts told the Post that Slovenia natives Viktor and Amalija Knavs very likely relied on so-called chain migration, a family reunification process that allows USA citizens-Melania Trump in this case-to sponsor their immediate family for legal residency. A smaller number go to immigrants based on their employment, and other categories include refugees and other special cases.

There are only a handful of ways that immigrants to the U.S. can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections. 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.

The most common way in which immigrants to the USA obtain green cards is through family connections already in the country.

US first lady Melania Trump's parents, Viktor Knavs (L) and Amalija Knavs step off off Air Force One upon arrival in Morristown, New Jersey on June 30, 2017. The Washington Post cited a person with knowledge of the couple's immigration status as stating they are awaiting a date for their swearing-in ceremony.

First Lady Melania Trump's parents have become legal permanent residents of the United States - though it's unclear how they obtained green cards. "The family, as they are not part of the administration, has asked that their privacy be respected so I will not comment further on this matter", Wildes said.

Both of the First Lady's parents are reportedly retired.

Trump's new proposal would only allow immigrants to sponsor spouses and minor children.

Melania's own immigration status has previously come under the spotlight.