Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is known for the hard-line stance he vows to take against immigrants who violate the terms of their entry into the United States. However, a new report shows that his wife, Melania Trump, may have also illegally worked in the country before obtaining an official work permit.
Melania has said, through a lawyer, that she came to the U.S. from Slovenia on a B1/B2 visitor visa on Aug. 27, 1996, and obtained an H-1B work visa on Oct. 18, 1996. She received a green card in March 2001, finally becoming a U.S. citizen in 2006. She married Trump in January 2005.
As the Trump campaign has had particularly strong views on immigration, Melania has defended the construction mogul’s stand and maintained that she entered the country legally, without violating terms of the country’s immigration policy. However, documents, accounting ledgers and old contracts obtained by the Associated Press (AP) show that the former model was paid for 10 assignments worth $20,056 between Sept. 10 and Oct. 15, a period during which she was not legally allowed to work in the country.
While Melania has publicly declined requests for her immigration records to be released, a letter detailing what her immigration lawyer says are the contents of the records showed that she was in the U.S. for nearly two months before obtaining her work visa. The ledgers obtained show modeling work for clients like Fitness magazine and Bergdorf Goodman department store during this seven-week window.
While Melania is identified with her professional name in some ledgers, with details of her involvement with the Metropolitan International Management modeling agency between July 18, 1996, and Sept. 26, 1997, there are other parts of the ledgers that refer to her as Melanija Knaus. The documents also show $20,526 in gross earnings in the period before her work permit was obtained.
The company paid for the model’s rent and some other expense, the AP reported.
The latest revelations come days before her husband battles it out with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president on Nov. 8. Trump, who has maintained that he will make immigration laws more stringent and punish those who violate them, has also suggested that the government’s E-verify system should be used for a wider range of issues, including provisions that will allow prospective employers to check whether applicants are authorized to work in the country.
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not reply to the AP’s questions regarding the ledgers and documents obtained by the agency.