Melania Trump family immigration lawyer praises so-called chain migration

Melania Trump family immigration lawyer praises so-called chain migration
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The immigration attorney for first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor Trump dodges media's questions after Mueller report release MORE and her family delivered a passionate defense of so-called chain migration on Friday, saying that the policy, which Trump wants to change, is actually a "beautiful bedrock of immigration law."

Attorney Michael Wildes made the statement during an appearance on CNN one day after confirming that the first lady's parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became U.S. citizens with help from their daughter.

Melania Trump sponsored her parents for a green card, and the Knavs then applied for citizenship once they were eligible in a process Democrats call family-based migration, but which has been called chain migration by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE and some Republicans.

The president has vehemently denounced the process on multiple occasions, asserting that it allows for people to bring dozens of family members into the country. 

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"It's unconscionable to scare people into believing that," Wildes said, referring to Trump's views on the program. "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 added. "Imagine this, people will work harder and love more and do more for America knowing their immediate relatives, their parents, their children [can come to the country]."  

The impassioned defense came a day after multiple outlets reported that Melania Trump's parents became U.S. citizens through the process. 

The New York Times reported that the couple had to have their green cards for five years to become eligible for citizenship. Wildes told the newspaper that the Knavs fulfilled the five-year requirement but declined to give further comment on Thursday.

Trump and his allies have called for the immigration program to be replaced with a merit-based system that would prioritize immigrants with certain skills for green cards.

Attempts to pass immigration reform laws have stalled in Congress, with the focus turning from family migration policy to the detention of immigrant families coming across the southern border.