Lawyer for Melania Trump’s parents calls president’s immigration rhetoric ‘unconscionable’

Lawyer for Melania Trump’s parents calls president’s immigration rhetoric ‘unconscionable’

A lawyer representing first lady Melania Trump’s parents on Friday defended “chain migration,” an immigration process the president has called for an end to, on a television network the president often chastises.

Viktor and Amalija Knavs took their oath of citizenship in New York City on Thursday. Their lawyer, Michael Wildes, said the couple had been sponsored by their daughter, and once they were eligible to apply for citizenship after living in the U.S. as permanent residents for a number of years, they did so.

The Knavses’ immigration status had come under scrutiny in recent months as President Trump targeted “chain migration,” in which adult U.S. citizens can request residency for their immediate family. The president has argued the program allows terrorists to enter the country.

Appearing on CNN on Friday, Wildes called the president’s rhetoric against the process in which his clients became citizens “unconscionable.”

“You cannot bring nephews. You cannot bring nieces or uncles. You can’t bring 32 people here. … This whole notion of chain migration actually is a beautiful bedrock of immigration law and policy called family reunification,” he said.

In order to obtain citizenship, legal permanent residents are required to live in the U.S. continuously and hold their green cards for at least five years. Wildes said the couple had met the five-year requirement.

“The application, the process, the interview, was no different than anybody else’s, other than security arrangements to facilitate today,” Wildes said outside the courthouse Thursday.

Wildes said he spoke with the first lady earlier Friday, noting that she was aware that he’d be appearing on CNN.

The first lady “is given great comfort as she does the nation’s work, knowing that her parents, the grandparents of her child, can actually work and look after her son while she’s traveling with the president,” he said.

The Knavses have accompanied the Trumps when they’ve traveled to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s resort in Florida, as well as his private golf club in New Jersey.

The first lady’s spokeswoman has declined to comment on the matter, saying they deserve to have privacy because they are not part of the administration.

Wildes’ appearance on the cable news network criticizing the president’s stance on immigration is another example of the first lady showing independence from her husband.

As the administration separated migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump announced her disappointment on Twitter about such actions and made two trips to border facilities to visit the displaced children.

In response to a report that the president was upset to find his wife’s television on Air Force One tuned to CNN, her spokeswoman told the network the first lady will watch “any channel she wants.”