While Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been built around a general hatred toward anyone who’s not white and male, the backbone of his campaign is good old fashioned xenophobia. Illegal immigration is bad, period, according to Trump and his followers. Well, it appears that Trump’s wife Melania could have some immigration problems of her own. Despite her insistence that she emigrated legally, her own words reveal that she worked as a model on a tourist visa. That’s a no-no.
This all came up after nude photos of Melania Trump were published in the normally Trump friendly, Rupert Murdoch owned, New York Post. Many speculate that the Post ran with the photos to distract Americans from the many ways the Trump campaign has been imploding since the Democratic National Convention.
Regardless of who leaked them, the photos could be causing some real problems for the Trump campaign, and not because his wife is seen naked. It’s because the photos, which prove she was working in America at the time, were taken a full year before she was legally allowed to work in America. So does a biography.
When you’re the immigrant spouse of one of the most xenophobic candidates in history, it makes sense that you’d go out of your way to show that you did everything right, and according to Melania, she did:
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.”
The official story is that Melania arrived in the country on an H1-B Visa, which implies that there are no Americans to fill modeling jobs. That’s another issue for another day. The official story might not be as clearcut as the Trump campaign would like us to believe. Her claim that she needed to renew the Visa every six months implies that it wasn’t a work Visa, and that it was more likely a Business Visitor or Tourist Visa, and that’s fraud, for which, in theory, she could be prosecuted now.
It shouldn’t surprise many. Many within the modeling industry has long relied on undocumented immigrants, and there’s that year. She and the Trump campaign claim she arrived in 1996, but…
“In 1995 she started coming to the USA according to the jobs she was getting at fashion agencies,” wrote Požar in an email to POLITICO. “We don’t know the exact dates of those before she officially settled in New York but her visits prior to that were temporary business opportunities that she had as a model.” Požar said he learned of these first jobs in America from two fashion agents, one in Italy and the other in Vienna, and that such trips abroad were common for Eastern European models but not “technically” legal.
She definitely did not have the Visa to be modeling for money in 1995, yet it appears she was. There is a slim chance that she could be prosecuted for fraud, slim, but there’s likely even a slimmer chance that Trump sycophants will care, even about this blatant hypocrisy. Melania is white, beautiful and European. She’s the kind of immigrant, legal or not, that his followers like. As Trump says, he could kill someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, and his most ardent followers wouldn’t care at all.
Featured image via Wikimedia.