Is Melania Trump an Illegal Immigrant?

Is Melania Trump an Illegal Immigrant?
Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Trump has a problem with immigrants.

More to the point, he has a problem with lying, and apparently, his wife’s immigration status may not be quite in line with the tales spun by the Trump team.

What we do know about Melania Trump is that she came to the U.S. in the mid-90s to model.

By “model” I mean trashy nudes, that included girl-on-girl porn.

The racy photos of the would-be first lady, published in the New York Post on Sunday and Monday, inadvertently highlight inconsistencies in the various accounts she has provided over the years. And, immigration experts say, there’s even a slim chance that any years-old misrepresentations to immigration authorities could pose legal problems for her today.

While Trump and her husband, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, have said she came to the United States legally, her own statements suggest she first came to the country on a short-term visa that would not have authorized her to work as a model. Trump has also said she came to New York in 1996, but the nude photo shoot places her in the United States in 1995, as does a biography published in February by Slovenian journalists.

Add this to the other fabrications told about Mrs. Trump #3, including the whopper that she received a degree in architecture in her native Slovenia, when the reality is, she attended a single semester, then dropped out to do her “modeling.”

That last fib apparently led to a scrubbing of her website from the internet, with any searches redirecting the searcher to Trump’s campaign site.

Of course, Trump mouthpiece, Hope Hicks has waved off any citizenship questions by insisting that all laws were followed and that Melania Trump is, indeed, a U.S. citizen.

Oddly enough, interviews from earlier in the year suggest otherwise.

In a January profile in Harper’s Bazaar, Trump said she would return home from New York to renew her visa every few months. “It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are,” she said. “You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001.”

In a February interview with Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump repeated that characterization of her early years in the United States. “I never thought to stay here without papers. I had visa. I travel every few months back to the country to Slovenia to stamp the visa. I came back. I applied for the green card. I applied for the citizenship later on.”

During a later interview with DuJour magazine, she indicated she had an H-1B work visa. These visas, according to immigration lawyers, are good for up to three to six years, and wouldn’t require frequent trips back to Europe to be renewed. That puts a big question mark over her account of coming in 1996 to work and then getting a green card in 2001.

Why all the frequent trips back to renew during that time?

Instead, Trump’s description of her periodic renewals in Europe are more consistent with someone traveling on a B-1 Temporary Business Visitor or B-2 Tourist Visa, which typically last only up to six months and do not permit employment.

If someone were to enter the United States on one of those visas with the intention of working, it could constitute visa fraud, according to Andrew Greenfield, a partner at the Washington office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, a firm that specializes in immigration law.

So why is any of this even important?

It becomes very important when Donald Trump has made illegal immigration the cornerstone of his campaign. It’s bad form to have one set of standards for those from countries that don’t appeal to you and another set for those where you’re fishing for your next wife.

In March, he said he would “end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”

Even for Slovenian porn stars… OOPS. “Models.”

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