Report Finds Melania Trump Began U.S. Modeling Career Illegally

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Melania Trump began her work as a model in the United States without the proper work visa, the Associated Press reported last night.

According to accounting ledgers, contracts, and related documents obtained by the AP, 20 years ago, Trump was paid for 10 modeling jobs before she was granted permission to work in the country. She earned $20,056 in the first seven weeks she lived and worked in the United States. Melania Trump's husband, Donald, the Republican presidential nominee, has made cracking down on illegal immigration a linchpin of his campaign, including proposing broader use of the government's E-verify system to allow employers to check on the legal authorized working status of applicants. After arriving in the United States from Slovenia on August 27, 1996, on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa, Melania Trump obtained her H-1B work visa on October 18, 1996. The 10 modeling jobs in question took place between September 10 and October 15, 1996, during a period where she was legally permitted to be in the United States and look for work, but not yet perform paid work. She later obtained her green card in March 2001 and became a U.S. citizen in 2006. However, The Washington Post reports that immigration experts are questioning how Trump was able to obtain her green card in 2001, allowing her to remain in the country permanently.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has said she was granted the permit because of “extraordinary ability,” but experts say that visa category is typically utilized in situations involving people whose accomplishment is at the level of a Nobel Prize laureate, rather than a model.

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