UPDATE: The President Donald Trump administration has been heavily criticized for backing changes to immigration laws that could actually get the first lady, Melania Trump, kicked out of the country. Now, it appears that the White House is having a hard time explaining what type of visa the president’s wife’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, are using to stay in the country.
The president supports reforms and bills that could restrict and eventually put an end to what many call chain migration. That means that those who become citizens could no longer bring their relatives over by sponsoring them legally.
Because of Trump’s stance, critics began wondering how his wife’s parents managed to stay in the country legally.
Reporters at The Washington Post contacted an immigration law expert to ask what options are available to the Knavses and how they may have been been able to remain in the country legally.
According to the expert, there are two options that would be particularly awkward for the president. The first would be if the Knavses are in the U.S. because they are the parents of a U.S. citizen. The second would be if the couple had extended their tourist visas.
Since the couple, and Trump’s wife, were born in a communist country, they could also have moved here after requesting parole on humanitarian grounds or significant public benefit reasons. They may have also obtained a student (F-1) visa, which The Independent finds unlikely.
When the spokeswoman for Trump’s wife, Stephanie Grisham, was presented with a list of visa options that may have worked for the Knavses, she responded that “[n]one of those options apply.”
“I don’t comment on her parents, as they live private lives and are not part of the administration," she then added.
If the president allows his wife and her relatives to come to the country on visas that he does not think others should have access to, then he might appear as a hypocrite to his base. So far, his administration hasn’t tried to address the issues or even come up with excuses. Time will tell which road he’ll take.
Immigration is surely a hot button issue in President Donald Trump's America.
But ever since the rules changed, making even the smallest of mistakes on the part of the immigrant is enough to justify deportation, prompting many people to ask why Trump's wife's past as an immigrant never gets discussed by the administration.
If anything, it looks as if the president is afraid to admit his wife would be a high priority case under his watch.
As the Trump administration makes the argument that even an “immaterial” error on official paperwork is enough to justify deportation before the Supreme Court involving a recent deportation case, some people are arguing that Melania Trump could be deported next.
The case in question involves Divna Maslenjak, who arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1999.
As a Serb from Bosnia, she was persecuted and found in America a safe place to live and go on with her life. By 2001, she had applied for a green card, and in 2006, she became a naturalized citizen.
At the time, she claimed her husband had never served in the Bosnian Serb military unit, which turned out to be a lie, and she was later deported.
Under Trump's new rules, immigration officials are required to prioritize the removal of any foreign national who “engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a government agency.” As the administration defends this argument in Maslenjak's case, many people have brought up the president's wife as a perfect example of someone who may have somewhat “misrepresented” her past as an immigrant during her naturalization process.
After all, Melania Trump — then known only as Melania Knauss — was paid for modeling work in the United States while traveling on a tourist visa. According to U.S. immigration law, visitors on a tourist visa aren't allowed to receive payment for any activity performed while in the country.
If she wasn't honest about this small fact during her naturalization process, wouldn't that make her a priority deportation case? And if not, why should a first lady receive preferential treatment if Trump is so serious about his tough immigration stance?
One very important factor to note is that Melania Trump is a European immigrant from Slovenia and does not have brown skin. The first lady didn't come from any of the "sh*thole" countries on President Trump's list and, therefore, she's exempt from his vilification of "illegal" immigrants.
Just take a look at the people facing deportation who have made national headlines, there’s Army veteran Miguel Perez Jr., who served in Afghanistan, Amer “Al” Othman — who was deported after living in the United states for nearly 40 years with no criminal record — and there’s the upstanding, law-abiding chemistry professor who has lived in the country for more than three decades but just so happens to be Muslim.
And we can’t forget the Greyhound bus in Florida full of poor immigrants that was ambushed by U.S. border agents who demanded all passengers provide proof of residency or citizenship — which is not required documentation to ride a Greyhound bus.
In all of these cases, the targets were either poor, Muslim, or Latino. This should come as no surprise, though, considering these are the groups of people Trump has consistently demonized and promised to remove from the United States. And, one trait that all of these minorities have in common is their brown skin, hence why Trump also wants to kick out Haitian immigrants and said he would like more folks from Norway, a predominantly white country, to come to America.
Trump isn't hiding where he stands with non-white immigrants, he may claim he's not racist but his actions speak much louder than his words. If you aren't working for him, and you aren't white, and you aren't married to him, then you're on the chopping block. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what he constitutes as "Making America Great Again."
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters