Melania Trump's parents sworn in as U.S. citizens

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The Knavses' lawyer said their ceremony was kept private for "security reasons".

The ceremony has prompted questions about Donald Trump's flagrant disregard for practising what he preaches, as the First Lady's parents obtained citizenship through a policy he has vocally denounced. 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.

The decision is likely to cause outcry following Trumps comments to end family-based immigration which he referred to as "chain migration".

"It went well and they are very grateful and appreciative of this wonderful day for their family", the couple's immigration attorney, Michael Wildes, said.

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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.

Back in February, the Washington Post reported Melania's parents had become legal permanent residents, had obtained green cards, and were awaiting scheduling for their naturalization oath.

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

Writing on Twitter in November, Trump made his views on the system clear. "The question is what is the policy, and if a different policy is better, I'm all for it, but it doesn't mean people working within the current policy are doing anything morally wrong". That preferential program, popularly known as the "Einstein visa", is intended for immigrants with "extraordinary ability, [who] are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager", according to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services.

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The pair are close with the president and Melania Trump, and are regularly seen traveling with the first family.

Melania Trump became a US citizen in 2006 after marrying Trump the year before. Homeland Security Police also escorted the Knavs both in and out of the ceremony, which was held at a federal building in Manhattan. She said the first lady's parents "are not part of the administration and deserve privacy".

In 1996, she moved to New York City where she worked as a model and met Donald Trump two years later. Curious about the cameras, bystanders wandered over. One for the people who have no power, and one for the people who we are letting in through the VIP entrance.

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