Awkward: Melania Trump Illegally Worked in the U.S. Prior to Having Work Visa

In documents obtained by The Associated Press, we now know that Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, worked for seven weeks in the U.S. before it was legal for her to do so. The documents obtained were a part of a legal dispute and only recently found in storage. However, the documents, which include accounting ledgers from the time, have been reviewed by an attorney at the request of the AP and authenticated by a former employee.

The exact details are as follows:

The documents obtained by the AP included ledgers, other accounting documents and a management agreement signed by Mrs. Trump from Metropolitan International Management that covered parts of 1996 and 1997. The AP obtained the files this week after seeking copies since August from employees of the now-defunct modeling firm, after Mrs. Trump made comments earlier this summer that appeared inconsistent with U.S. immigration rules.

A New York immigration lawyer whom Mrs. Trump asked to review her immigration documents, Michael J. Wildes, also reviewed some of the ledgers at AP’s request. Wildes said in a brief statement that “these documents, which have not been verified, do not reflect our records including corresponding passport stamps.” He did not elaborate or answer additional questions asking for clarification. Wilde appeared to be referring to Mrs. Trump’s arrival in the United States on Aug. 27, 1996, one day after the ledgers list a charge for car service to pick up Mrs. Trump from the airport. Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks also did not answer additional written questions from the AP.

Since questions arose earlier this year, Mrs. Trump has declined to publicly release her immigration records. Wildes, the immigration lawyer, released a letter in September that laid out the details of what he said Mrs. Trump’s immigration records show, including a seven-week window in which Mrs. Trump was in the U.S. before her work visa was issued.

During that seven-week period, the ledgers list modeling work for clients that included Fitness magazine and Bergdorf Goodman department store. The management agreement, which said it was not an employment agreement, included a handwritten date of Aug. 27, 1996. The top of the document said it was “made and entered into as of this 4th day of September 1996.”

The news is unlikely to affect the election or lead to Mrs. Trump’s citizenship status being thrown into question, but it is notable for being so ironic.

Donald Trump built his campaign from early days based on insisting that if he was president he would deport the estimated 11 million people illegally working in the United States, that he would build a “big, beautiful wall” with a “beautiful door” and would then instigate some form of a trade war to get Mexico to pay for it.

If Trump or Melania, who is back on the campaign trail stumping for her husband, really wanted to try and soften Trump’s message in the final days they would use this news as a way to point out how onerous our legal immigration system is and that it is partly the cause of why so many people end up being in the U.S. illegally. But that’s just me.