Two Systems

Double standards have already become a trademark of Donald Trump’s presidency.

A couple of days ago, the parents of the U.S. president’s wife became U.S. citizens, thanks to the chain migration system, which is a process that Trump is constantly trying to fight and that he pledged to abolish at the very beginning of his presidency.

Melania Trump’s Parents as US Citizens

Melania Trump, formerly Melanija Knavs, was born in 1970 in Slovenia. She came to the U.S. as a model on a tourist visa in 1996. Two years later, she met a businessman named Donald Trump. She got her green card in 2001, and she became a U.S. citizen some time later. Now her parents have also become Americans, after she brought them to the U.S., where they have remained for years as residents.

Though usually the citizenship ceremony and pledge of allegiance are open to everyone and take place around Constitution Day (Sept. 17), the ceremony for the president’s in-laws was kept secret for security reasons. Only a few people attended, and even Melania did not attend. Stephanie Grisham, press secretary and communications director for the first lady, explained that Melania’s parents, the Knavs, are not a part of the administration, so there was no need to comment on what happened.

Special Immigration System for People in Power

Nevertheless, the event attracted attention in Manhattan in front of the building where the naturalization ceremony took place. It is said that apparently in the U.S., there are two immigration systems: one for people not in power and the other for people who are admitted through the VIP entrance.

The case wouldn’t have attracted so much attention if it weren’t for Trump’s repeated condemnation of the chain migration system, under which adult U.S. citizens can obtain the right to stay in the U.S. for their relatives. In November 2017, when his in-laws were going through the naturalization process, Trump tweeted that chain migration “must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. Not acceptable!”]

The president was referring to an incident at the end of October 2017, when 29-year-old Uzbek Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove his pickup truck into a bike lane, injuring and killing a dozen people. Saypov made his way into the U.S. lawfully thanks to the visa lottery. Then, on the basis of the chain migration system, he brought 23 relatives to the U.S. These are the relatives whom Trump refers to as potentially threatening.

Trump Opposition to Chain Migration

At the end of last year, Trump proclaimed that chain migration costs Americans $300 billion annually and allows illegal immigrants to enter the country. Taking advantage of his first State of the Union address, Trump invited as special guests the parents of two teenage girls who died at the hands of the MS-13 gang, associated with Latin American immigrants, and he reminded everyone that the underage murderers were brought into the U.S. as part of family reunification. It is necessary to do everything possible so that immigrants can come to the U.S. not because of family ties but because they are qualified and meet the demand for certain skills.

Trump’s Double Standard

It is not the first time Trump has bent the truth. The process of family reunification in the U.S. is not that simple. The number of such visas remains limited, and often it takes years of waiting to acquire a visa. Today, on the occasion of the naturalization of Melania’s parents, the fact that Trump does not suffer any consequences from the complicated immigration process is again under discussion. Indeed, it is hard to believe that the first lady’s parents became U.S. citizens because of their exceptional qualifications. Viktor Knavs, 74, worked as a car dealer back in Communist Slovenia, while Amalija, 73, had a job in the textile mills. They have been retired for years.

Trump is using a double standard again. He sees nothing wrong with hiring members of his family to serve in his administration, or in linking his private interests with state visits or in making exceptions for those close to him. In his State of the Union speech, he stated that immigrants are dangerous. It’s too bad that he is not using his in-laws as an example to demonstrate that the people who make their way to the U.S. as part of the chain migration process may be calm and fair people.