First lady’s at­tor­ney de­fends “chain mi­gra­tion” process

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Kris­tine Phillips

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.

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