The Slovenian-born parents of US First Lady Melania Trump became US citizens at a naturalization ceremony in NY on Thursday, their immigration lawyer Michael Wildes confirmed to AFP.
"This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to attractive people as they have today", Wildes said.
US President Donald Trump often rails against family-based immigration in his rallies, frequently reminding his audience of the October terror attack in NY, where Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan plowed a pickup truck down a bike lane, killing eight people near the World Trade Center.
Asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through "chain migration", their lawyer said, "I suppose".
Amid a bitter debate over immigration - particularly the Trump administration's separation of children from families crossing the border illegally - Wildes said the Knavses' attaining citizenship was "an example of it going right".
Melania Trump became a citizen in 2006 after obtaining a green card. Wildes told the newspaper that the Knavs fulfilled the five-year requirement, but declined to give further comment.
The president often rails against family-based immigration at his rallies, and has called it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country.
Trump's plan, which Congress has resisted, would limit immigrants like his wife to sponsoring only their spouses and underage children to join them in the US, not their parents, adult children or siblings.
It is believed that Melania Trump, who is a USA citizen, has sponsored her parents for permanent residency.
Melania Trump became a U.S. citizen after entering the country on an Einstein visa for "individuals of extraordinary ability" in 2001 as a model. Thomas Cioppa, New York district director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, presided over the 20-minute ceremony, Mr Wildes said.
He maintains there should instead be a merit-based system, which prioritises professionals over relatives, and has drawn censure for his strident attacks on immigration laws and immigrants.
Typically, naturalisation ceremonies at 26 Federal Plaza are large events, where groups of immigrants are sworn in as citizens en masse, after reciting an oath and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Melania grew up in a two bedroom apartment in Sevnica, a small city formerly under communist control.
Melania Trump became a USA citizen in 2006 after marrying Trump the year before. While they reside for the most part in New York, AP notes that they've also spent an ample amount of time in the nation's capital helping to take care of their grandson, 12-year-old Barron Trump.