Did Melania Break Immigration Laws in Her Modeling Days?

Politico investigation raises questions that could cause her legal grief
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2016 8:33 AM CDT
Did Melania Break Immigration Laws in Her Modeling Days?
Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The New York Post has been going to town publishing not-safe-for-work photos of Melania Trump from her early modeling days, but it's the timeline behind those images that's now raising more eyebrows. Politico backtracks through Trump's progression from Slovenian visitor to US citizen, noting dates that place Trump in New York in 1995 for that photo shoot, though she has said she didn't arrive in the US until 1996. But her visa status back then is posing more of a problem, and immigration experts tell Politico it may place her citizenship in jeopardy—problematic considering her husband wants to crack down on illegal immigration if he's elected president. The discrepancy comes from two interviews Trump did earlier this year about her early US visits, in which she said she'd return to Europe every few months to "follow the law" and get her visa restamped, until she got her green card in 2001.

But that doesn't jibe with the H-1B work visa she should've held at the time (that visa lasts for three years and can be extended for up to six without return trips home). Instead, her description sounds more in line with that of a temporary business or tourist visa that lasts just six months—and that doesn't allow visitors to work here except in very limited circumstances, meaning Trump may have lied about her reasons for coming into the country and committed visa fraud. If visa fraud did indeed take place, that could have a domino effect on her green card and citizenship applications. Donald Trump's campaign had just a brief statement from rep Hope Hicks in response to Politico's emailed questions: "Melania followed all applicable laws and is now a proud citizen of the United States." (Meanwhile, Melania Trump's website has fallen off the map.)

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