First lady’s attorney defends “chain migration” process
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 — and said the attacks are “unconscionable.”
“This is a tradition that happens in all rank and all files of life, whether you’re president of the United States — 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 Thursday. Viktor and Amalija Knavs left their native Slovenia and had been living in the United States as permanent residents.
Citing legal experts, The Washington Post reported in February that the Knavses very likely came to the United States 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 President Donald Trump has derided as “chain migration” and 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 and undocumented, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.
In several speeches and interviews over the past months, Trump has called chain migration “terrible” and 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.