Despite his tough stance on immigration, Donald Trump's modeling agency was revealed Tuesday to have used models working illegally in the United States. An exclusive Mother Jones report found three women who said they modeled for Trump Model Management without the proper work visas.
"[Trump] doesn't want to let anyone into the U.S. anymore," one model, identified by the pseudonym "Kate," told Mother Jones. "Meanwhile, behind everyone's back, he's bringing in all of these girls from all over the world and they're working illegally."
The story also details the models' living situation in an East Village apartment basement full of bunk beds. The models claimed the agency would only secure legal visas for the women they liked.
To Trump's credit, Susan Scafidi, founder of the Fashion Law Institute in New York, told Mother Jones sidestepping the immigration rules was "very common" in the industry. The investigation follows a Politico piece questioning the background of Melania Trump, the Republican nominee's would-be first lady. The story suggested that she, too, may have been modeling stateside without the proper visa.
A lawsuit filed in 2014 by Jamaican model Alexia Palmer had alleged Trump's agency violated labor and immigration laws and lied in a visa application about her salary, but it was thrown out earlier this year. Judge Analisa Torres said in an order that Palmer hadn't exhausted all her options with the Department of Labor or state court before filing the suit, the Associated Press reported.
Trump's agency had hired Palmer on an H-1B visa. But these days, Trump — famous for his proposals to ban Muslim immigration and build a wall along the border with Mexico — denounces that practice. On his website, the candidate vows to "end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions."