Melania Trump's parents are legal permanent residents of the US

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Both are reportedly retired.

Melania Trump's parents are living legally in the U.S. as permanent residents, the first lady's lawyer says, but won't reveal how or when they obtained their green cards.

Melania Trump's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, "very likely relied" on an immigration process the Trump administration has called "chain migration", or immigration to the USA based on familial relations, according to the newspaper that cited immigration experts.

Thus their most reasonable path to citizenship would be sponsorship by First Lady Melania Trump, immigration lawyer David Leopold told The Washington Post. He went on to state that employer sponsorship was unlikely as they would need to prove that no Americans could do the job.

It is unclear when the Knavses first moved to the United States, but by late 2007, Viktor Knavs was listed in public records as residing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's private club in Palm Beach, Florida. Join journalist Emmy Kubainski and Kirstin Bouse as they explore the subtle art of saying no on 9Honey Life Bites.

Trump has made a hardline stance on immigration part of his core electoral message.

"Almost every U.S. family is connected to immigration programs Trump wants to kill, including his own", said Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the U.S. by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category.

Melania Trump became a US citizen in 2001 - a year after she and President Trump were married. Victor Knavs, a former traveling auto salesman, and Amalija Knavs, who used to design patterns for children's clothes, both appear to be retired.

He previously derided the immigration process as "chain migration", endorsing legislation that would prevent immigrants from sponsoring their parents and only allow them to sponsor spouses and minor children.

"In some ways, lawful permanent resident status is the best of all visas", said Kevin R. Johnson, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Davis, who has taught immigration law. She became a USA citizen in 2006, the year after she and Trump were married.

They are not the only family members to join Melania Trump from Slovenia: Her older sister, Ines, lives in an apartment in a Trump-owned building on Park Avenue in NY, public records show.

In his State of the Union address January 30, President Trump offered a four-point immigration plan that he said "protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration".

"Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives", he said.

The President's insistence that the cuts to family-based migration be included in a deal to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children was an insurmountable sticking point in negotiations when the Senate failed to reach a compromise on the issue last week. "This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future", he said.

Trump underscored his position in a February 6 tweet.

Earlier this month Trump said on Twitter that the United States needed a "merit-based" immigration system, adding that "chain migration and the visa lottery are outdated programs that hurt our economic and national security".

Democrats and some Republicans have opposed that measure.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Wednesday.