First Lady Melania Trump is back in the spotlight Wednesday, but mercifully for her – and for us – it’s not because of another alleged affair by her husband. This time, it’s her parents that are under scrutiny, specifically over how they arrived at the cusp of American citizenship.
The First Lady was born to Viktor and Amalija Knavs in Slovenia, back when it was still part of the former communist republic of Yugoslavia. She moved to the United States as a teenager to pursue what eventually grew into a successful modeling career before catching the eye of reality TV show star Donald Trump. The rest is history.
Her parents, however, are much more recent arrivals. The media has speculated wildly about how when they came to reside in the United States, and The Washington Post published a report Wednesday that all but confirms that they have benefitted from the so-called “chain migration” policy that President Trump and his minions in the Right Wing media are trying to dismantle.
Carol D. Leonnig, David Nakamura and Nick Miroff write that “The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their green cards.”
“Immigration experts said Viktor and Amalija Knavs,” the piece continues, “very likely relied on a family reunification process that President Trump has derided as ‘chain migration’ and proposed ending in such cases.”
“I can confirm that Mrs. Trump’s parents are both lawfully admitted to the United States as permanent residents,” New York immigration attorney Michael Wildes told The Post. “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.”
The news blows a hole in the credibility of the entire case against so-called chain migration Republicans have attacked, and it’s especially embarrassing for the first family who have taken such a high profile role in this absurd fight against immigration more broadly.
Donald Trump is the most anti-immigration president in recent American history. From the moment he launched his bid for the White House in 2015, through his entire first year in office, he’s made dismantling friendly immigration policies in favor of draconian measures ranging from travel bans from Muslim countries to building a wall across the southern border with Mexico.
As hateful and spiteful his policies have been, they seem tame and humane compared to his rhetoric. At various times, he’s called Mexicans “rapists and murderers,” declared nations in Africa and Latin America to be “shithole countries,” and he tried to co-opt and cheapen the cause of DACA immigrants awaiting normalization of their legal status during his state of the union address last month when he said, “Americans are dreamers, too.”
His latest cause celebre is this ridiculous all-out assault on chain migration, the policy that gives special preference for family members of naturalized immigrants to migrate to the United States.
The president and his Republican allies have intensified their push to end this effort to promote family reunification for immigrants in recent months after a series of terrorist attacks in New York City were found to have been committed by recently arrived immigrants thought to have benefitted from the preference that the policy affords.
But in reality, the GOP has been trying to kill the policy for years, leading as it does to more immigrants from the aforementioned “shithole countries” Republicans so despite.
When it involves the president’s family, and/or immigrants from non-shithole countries, however, the policy seems more than acceptable.