Melania Trump’s immigration lawyer calls president’s attacks on ‘chain migration’ ‘unconscionable’


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.”
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Wildes, a staunch Democrat who is running for a third term as mayor of Englewood, N.J., has previously criticized the president’s policies on immigration. Among his other clients have been British singer Boy George and French chef Jean-Georges.

Under U.S. law, citizens can sponsor their spouses, children, parents & siblings so that they can come to the U.S. Rules are stricter for permanent residents or green-card holders, who can sponsor only a spouse or unmarried children. The process often takes years & often has a lengthy waiting list. Nearly 4 million applicants were on the waiting list as of last Nov.

Both Melania Trump & the president’s first wife, Ivana, came to the country as immigrants. Ivana Trump, born in the former Czechoslovakia, became a naturalized citizen in 1988.

The WH did not respond to a request for comment about Wildes’s remarks. Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, had previously declined to comment about the first lady’s parents because they’re not part of the administration.


So an attorney who benefits from more migration complains about the president’s policy objective of less migration? This is supposed to mean something? This is what the Washington Post thinks is news?


Congratulations on becoming citizens, Trump or no Trump.


“Chain migration” is very limited in scope, often with very long waiting periods.

Family reunification is the actual term.

Cousins are not eligible for sponsorship, for example.


It is news because the First Lady authorized her attorney to go on CNN to discuss this matter - obviously…


I don’t see anywhere in the article that says the First Lady authorized Wilde to go on CNN, no do I see any reason, why he should have to as long as he respected any attorney/client privilege, which it appears he did. In fact, the article can’t even confirm that Melania’s parents used “family reunification” as the basis for for becoming US citizens, only quoting anonymous “legal experts” who speculate that they might have.


There is a link in the article to a video of the interview that will clear that up for you.


His lawyers prefers “family reunification” but allows that the First Lady’s parents came through “chain migration”.


Thank you for posting the NYT article. It’s too bad that Mrs. Trump was not able to celebrate with her parents.

“Mrs. Trump was not present for the ceremony, and her parents told their lawyer she was in Bedminster, N.J., where the president spends time in the summer at Trump National Golf Club.”

The article also made clear that Mr Wildes is the Knavs‘ attorney so they would have had to sign-off on his CNN comments - although I doubt that they would have done so without consulting their daughter.


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