First lady Melania Trump's parents have been sworn in as USA citizens

Amalija and Viktor Knavs parents of First Lady Melania Trump arrive with their lawyer Michael Wildes at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building

The couple said little, other than Viktor telling a reporter "thank you" when asked how they felt about becoming Americans.

There are only a handful of ways immigrants can obtain green cards, and the largest share of them each year are given out based on familial connections.

"CHAIN MIGRATION must end now!" he tweeted.

"This golden experiment, these doors that are in America, remain hinged open to attractive people as they have today", Wildes said.

"It went well and they are very grateful and appreciative of this wonderful day for their family", he said in a statement to CNN.

Melania Trump - who has been vacationing with her husband U.S. President Donald Trump in Bedminster, N.J. - did not accompany her parents.

Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, declined to comment.

The ceremony has prompted questions about Donald Trump's flagrant disregard for practising what he preaches, as the First Lady's parents obtained citizenship through a policy he has vocally denounced.

The president often rails against family-based immigration at his rallies, and has called it a pathway for terrorists to enter the country. He also called for eliminating a visa lottery program for people from countries underrepresented in the US.

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The US allows a number of ways for US citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor family members to come to the US permanently, including categories for parents, adult siblings and adult children, married and unmarried. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the United States by 40% to 50%, if those green cards are not reallocated to another category.

Wildes wouldn't say how long the Knavses have lived in the US.

Viktor, 74, and Amalija, 73, had been living as permanent residents in the US.

The Knavses' citizenship ceremony was kept hush-hush at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building.

Viktor Knavs was a vehicle salesman in the Slovenian town of Sevnica, while his wife Amalija worked at a textile factory.

She attended high school in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modelling.

The Knavses are from Slovenia, but now divide their time between New York City, Palm Beach, and Washington, D.C., where they stay with the Trumps in the White House.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced what he calls "chain migration", in which adult USA citizens can obtain residency for their relatives.

Trump hasn't commented or tweeted about his in-laws' newfound citizenship.

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