A set of nude photographs published this week are casting doubt on the story of Melania Trump’s emigration to the United States.
The photos, published in The New York Post, were taken in 1995, placing the former model in the United States a full year before she claims she arrived from Slovenia. She also has said she came on a short-term visa that probably would not have permitted her to engage in any modeling work.
“It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers,” she said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last month. “You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001.”
Having to leave the country to get her visa stamped suggests that she was on a B-1 tourist visa, which does not allow foreigners to work in the US.
Politico, which first spotted the inconsistencies, reported that visa fraud could theoretically void Trump’s green card and citizenship, even though she subsequently married a US citizen.
Violations of the B-1 visa program are frequent, especially in the modeling industry. But any violation by Melania Trump would be highly problematic for her husband, given that his campaign was founded on his strident opposition to illegal immigration.
Unlike civil and criminal offenses, “the grounds of deportability under the federal immigration laws have no statute of limitations,” according to the American Immigration Council. “Immigrants may be placed in removal proceedings on the basis of misconduct regardless of how long ago it occurred.”
The Trump campaign is denying any wrongdoing on the part of Melania Trump. A spokeswoman told Politico that she “followed all applicable laws and is now a proud citizen of the United States.”