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Photo: Bennett Raglin / Getty Images

First Lady Melania Trump was granted a green card in 2001 under the EB-1 visa, created for those with "extraordinary ability" and "sustained national and international acclaim" such as top academic researchers, athletes and entertainers, according to the Washington Post. She was one of five Slovenians to receive that visa that year, which gave her the ability to sponsor her parents — who are now in the end stages of obtaining U.S. citizenship — for legal residency.

Reality check: Meanwhile, President Trump has been ardently calling for an end to family-based (or "chain") immigration, similar to how Melania may have sponsored her family. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security under her husband has been calling for tougher scrutiny toward employment-based visas.

By the numbers: Of the green cards issued in 2001, only 3,376 of more than 1 million were given to those with "extraordinary ability."

The qualifications: Melania would have had meet three of the following 10 criteria, according to DHS, or provide evidence of a "one-time achievement" like a "Pulitzer, Oscar or Olympic Medal."

  1. Received a lesser nationally or internationally known prize or award
  2. A member of an elite association in their field
  3. The subject of published material in major media or major trade publication
  4. Have been asked to judge others' work
  5. Contributed "scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related" material of "major significance" in the field
  6. Written and published scholarly articles in major publications or media
  7. Work displayed at art exhibits or showcases
  8. Played a leading or critical role in "distinguished organizations"
  9. Paid high salary or "other significantly high remuneration" compared to others in the field
  10. "Commercial successes in the performing arts"

Her response: Melania's work as a model — most notably appearing in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated — made her "more than amply qualified and solidly eligible" for the EB-1 visa, her lawyer Michael Wildes told the Post. Wildes also refused to comment on whether or not Melania had sponsored her parents for legal residency with her visa.

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.