Melania Trump on Wednesday released a letter from her immigration lawyer in response to questions about her immigration status when she first came to the United States to work as a model.
“I am pleased to enclose a letter from my immigration attorney which states that, with 100% certainty, I correctly went through the legal process when arriving in the USA,” the wife of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump wrote in a statement shared on her Twitter account.
The attached letter was written by attorney Michael J. Wildes, the son of immigration lawyer Leon Wildes, who rose to fame in 1972 when he successfully defended John Lennon and Yoko Ono from being deported by the U.S. government. Wildes has worked for the Trump Organization.
The full leader reads:
“It has been suggested by various media outlets that in in 1995 Mrs. Trump illegally worked as a model in the United States while on a visitor visa. Following a review of her relevant immigration paperwork, I can unequivocally state that these allegations are not supported by the record, and are therefore completely without merit.
“Contrary to published reports, Mrs. Trump never worked in the United States in 1995 because she was never in the United States in 1995. Instead, the documentation reflects that Mrs. Trump’s first entry to the United States was on August 27, 1996 pursuant to a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. Shortly, therefore, on October 18, 1996, the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia issued Mr. Trump her first H1-B visa, a category which authorizes employment as a model in the United States. Mrs. Trump was thereafter consistently issued H1-B visas, five in total, between October 1996 and 2001, at which point she became a lawful permanent resident, or ‘green card’ holder.
“Members of the media have questioned this narrative on the grounds that some foreign workers are issued H-1B visas for up to three years. This was not the case for Mrs. Trump, however, because the Foreign Affairs Manual then used by U.S. Consulates limited the insurance of H-1B visas for Slovenian citizens to only one year. Consistent with this rule, each of Mrs. Trump’s five H-1B visas was issued for a one year period.”It has further been alleged by different media outlets that Mrs. Trump violated U.S. immigration laws by participating in a 1995 photo shoot in New York City for the French magazine Max. Again, such reports are not supported by the facts. Because Mrs. Trump did not enter the United States until August 27, 1996, the allegation that she participated in a photo shoot in 1995 is not only untrue, it is impossible In reality, though an interview with Mrs. Trump we ascertained that the photo shoot in question did not occur until after she was admitted to the United States in H-1B visa status in October 1996.
“Finally, Mrs. Trump did not receive her green card through marriage. Rather in 2000, Mrs. Trump self-sponsored herself for a green card as a mode of ‘extraordinary ability,’ and on March 19, 2001, she was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Based on this timeline, Mrs. Trump became eligible for citizenship in 2006, after five years of continuous permanent residence.”
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The Trumps had previously claimed Melania Trump came to the U.S. legally in 1996 on a modeling contract. But nude photos of the former model uncovered by The New York Post in August seemed to place her in the U.S. in 1995, raising questions about whether she worked illegally in the country.
CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin notes that the Trump campaign had previously promised that Melania Trump would do a press conference to clear up the questions about her immigration status. Griffin reported that neither the photographer nor Melania Trump’s former modeling agent could recall whether that shoot was in 1996 or 1995. “So we went back to the Trump campaign just this morning, after this letter, and said, ‘Let us see the visa, let us see the visa stamp. They will not release it …Trump’s position is, My attorney is telling the truth.”