Melania Trump Defends Immigration Status Again as Anti-Trump Group Files Public Information Request for Her Papers
The questions surrounding Melania Trump‘s immigration status continued on Friday as the Democratic Coalition Against Trump filed a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking to make the potential first lady’s immigration papers public.
The move by the anti-Trump political action committee came just a day after the 46-year-old Slovenian native
responded to reports suggesting she came to the United States illegally.
“Let me set the record straight: I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period,” she said in a statement on Twitter. “Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue. In July 2006, I proudly became a U.S. citizen. Over the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to live, work and raise a family in this great nation and I share my husband’s love for our country.”
Her husband – Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump – has used much of his campaign preaching immigration reform and railing against illegal immigrants. He’s repeatedly pushed for a controversial plan to build a wall on the Mexican border and force that country to pay for it.
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump said their request to see Melania’s immigration status was inspired by a report by Politico, which found gaps in her immigration story.
The Trumps had previously claimed Melania came to the U.S. legally in 1996 on a modeling contract. Politico spoke with her original U.S. modeling agent who confirmed he brought her to New York on a H1-B visa. That left the question of how Melania arrived in the U.S. when she modeled for a series of nude photographs, uncovered by The New York Post last week.
“The nude photo shoot places her in the United States in 1995, as does a biography published in February by Slovenian journalists,” Politico wrote.
“The question, of course, is whether – to use her husband’s wording – this anti-immigration presidential candidate married an illegal immigrant,” the Democratic Coalition Against Trump pointed out on Facebook.
Was Melania Married Before?
The anti-Trump group and Politico aren’t the only ones questioning Melania’s status. Although she has previously said that Trump is her first husband, Univision reported a claim on Friday that she was wed for four years before her 2005 Palm Beach nuptials to the 70-year-old businessman.
Immigration attorney Michael Wildes, who worked for the Trump Organization, told Univision that Melania has obtained a green card “based on marriage” in 2001.
“Ms. Trump received citizenship in 2006 and prior to that she had a green card based on marriage,” he said. “Before that, she had a work visa and was in full compliance on her visas and never disrespected any of them. That has been made clear to me.”
When asked to explain the marriage discrepancy, Wildes told Univision he would seek clarification – presumably from the Trump Organization, they speculate. He later emailed his response: “I didn’t hear back, sorry.”
Melania’s Immigration Story, in Her Own Words
When speaking with PEOPLE for a previous cover story, Melania said she never thought about coming to the United States illegally.
“You need to go through the process and that’s what I did because if not, I didn’t even think about it, I would just stay [in Europe],” she explained. “It didn’t even cross my mind.”
“I needed to be legal and I need to follow the law and obey the law and that’s it,” she continued. “I didn’t even think about it. ‘Okay if I don’t do it, oh let me just stay – I would just be [in Europe].”
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Melania told PEOPLE she came to the United States to model in 1996 on a visa. She explained the process:
“You come on visa and you have a few times you need to fly back to Europe to stamp the visa and you come back and have another visa,” she said. “I apply for the visa after two years when I was here. I went through long process through the lawyers – you need to show all your work, why you’re coming here, [etc]. I went from five years when I had the green card you apply for citizenship – you cannot even apply before.”
She also said future immigrants who come to the U.S. show should do so legally. “We have a country of law, so I think people should follow the law,” she said.
• Reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS