Dissecting the Melania Trump Controversy

Last weekend the New York Post published some ‘racy’ photos of potential first lady Melania Trump. While many regarded the publication of the photos as tasteless, the dates of the photos have raised questions about Mrs. Trump’s immigration status when she first came to the United States to work as a model.

There is no question that the potential first lady was born in Slovenia, got a visa to enter the U.S., obtained a green card in 2001, and in 2006 became an American citizen. Where the issue becomes fuzzy are the exact dates that Mrs. Trump first entered the U.S. and if the type of visa she held permitted her to work while in the U.S.

Need special visa to work while in the U.S.

The photographs published over the weekend appear to show that Melania was in the U.S. during 1995, but Mrs. Trump has said that she first came to the U.S. in 1996. In addition to the potential discrepancy in the date of her arrival in the U.S., there is also a question as to what type of visa she was on during her stay in the U.S. If she first came to the U.S. under a standard B-1 tourist visa and worked as a model, that is a potential violation since B-1 visas do not permit employment while in the U.S.

Paolo Zampolli a partner in the French-based Metropolitan Models, which sponsored Mrs. Trump’s entry into the U.S., has said that while he does not recall her exact entry dates to the U.S. he believes she would have been on either an H-1B or O-1 visa, which are frequently used by foreign models working in the U.S.

Would be only second foreign-born first lady in American history

If Donald Trump is elected President, Melania Trump would be only the second foreign-born first lady in American history. The first was the wife of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams, Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams who was born in London.

Mrs. Trump issued a statement in response to the recent stories questioning her immigration status:

"There has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996. Let me set the record straight. I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period. Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue."
— Melania Trump 

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