Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has put illegal immigration issues at the forefront of his campaign. But a new report claims that his wife, Melania Trump, worked in the United States before she had obtained a work visa and allegedly illegally earned over $20,000.
According to the Associated Press, Melania was paid $20,056 over seven weeks for 10 modeling jobs in the United States in 1996 while she was on a B1/B2 visitor visa. The news outlet cites detailed accounting ledgers, contracts and related documents from 20 years ago in their reporting.
The B1/B2 visitor visa allowed Melania to stay in the U.S. to look for work, but not to perform paid work in the country.
Melania, through immigration attorney Michael J. Wildes, released a statement on Oct. 5 confirming she came to the United States from Slovenia on August 27, 1996 and pursued a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. However, Wildes also said that Trump didn’t obtain her work visa until nearly two months later.
“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,” Wildes wrote.
Documents provided to the AP, however, indicate that Melania was paid for work between Sept. 10 and Oct. 15 — therefore making the income earned outside of the bounds of her visa.
A Trump campaign spokesperson did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Wildes did issue a statement to the AP after reviewing their source material — which they said included ledgers, accounting documents and a management agreement signed by Melania from Metropolitan International Management.
He told the AP that “these documents, which have not been verified, do not reflect our records including corresponding passport stamps.” The AP said he did not elaborate or answer additional questions asking for clarification.
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This isn’t the first time Melania’s immigration status has been questioned during the bitter presidential race.
In August, she responded to reports questioning the legality of her immigration.
“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.”
On Thursday, she talked about her decision to come to the United States while giving a speech for her husband.
“As a young entrepreneur, I wanted to follow my dream to a place where freedom and opportunity were in abundance. So of course, I came here,” Melania said. “Living and working in America was a true blessing — but I wanted something more. I wanted to be an American.”