First lady Melania Trump’s immigration attorney is criticizing the president’s hostility toward “chain migration” — a process by which U.S. citizens or permanent residents can sponsor family members to come to the country — & said the attacks are “unconscionable.”
“This is a tradition that happens in all rank & all files of life, whether you’re president of the U.S. — and this is the first naturalized first lady that we have — or people who eventually navigate through the waters into America,” Michael Wildes told CNN on Friday.
Wildes, a high-profile attorney who has worked for numerous celebrities on immigration cases, represented the first lady’s parents, who became naturalized citizens Thurs. Viktor & Amalija Knavs left their native Slovenia & had been living in the U.S. as permanent residents.
Citing legal experts, The WaPo reported in February that the Knavses very likely came to the U.S. through family reunification, with their daughter sponsoring their green-card applications. Wildes confirmed as much during the interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront,” saying the first lady hired him “with the intentions of bringing her family here like everybody else would.”
It’s the same process of legal immigration that Trump has derided as “chain migration” & which he has called to end.
Trump has claimed that chain migration has resulted in national security threats, even though studies have shown that immigrants, both legal & undocumented, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. In several speeches & interviews over the past months, Trump has called chain migration “terrible” & a “disaster.” He has also claimed, falsely as The Post’s Fact Checker found, that the process allowed a terror suspect to bring two dozen relatives to the country.
“You bring one person in, you end up with 32 people,” he said at one news conference.
“You come in & now you can bring your family & then you can bring your mother & your father, you can bring your grandmother,” he said at another.
Responding to the president’s comments, clips of which were played in succession during the interview, Wildes denounced claims that chain migration allows people to simply bring in any relative to the U.S.
“Let me take off one hat as the first lady’s immigration lawyer & her family & put on my own personal hat. It’s unconscionable to scare people into believing that. You cannot bring nephews, you cannot bring nieces or uncles, you can’t bring 32 people here, & some of the quotas are backed up for 10 or 15 years from particular countries,” Wildes said, adding that the proper term is family reunification. “Imagine this, people will work harder & love more & do more for America knowing that their loved ones, their immediate relatives, their parents, their children.”