Press Conference Never Happened
The promised press conference never took place and Melanias immigration records have never been made public.
Jordan has spoken to attorney Michael Wildes for clarification on Melanias secretive immigration history. Wildes has been designated by the Trumps to answer questions about the First Ladys entry into the US, even though he had nothing to do with her original US visa and green card applications.
According to Wildes, Melania Knauss arrived in the US New York City to be precise in August 1996 to pursue a modeling career. Two months after her arrival, she was granted an H1B visa, allowing her to work in the US for 12 months. Over the next five years, she was able to renew her H1B visa five times.
In March 2001, Melania was granted an Einstein visa, issued through the elite EB1 program. Jordan states that back in 2001, such a visa was granted to just 1% of non-US citizens and only to those deemed to have extraordinary ability, including renowned academics, multi-national business executives, Olympic athletes and Oscar-winning actors.
Her Immigration Lawyer Michael Wildes Of Englewood A Democrat Explains
Michael Wildes is trying to thread a needle.
Mr. Wildes, an immigration lawyer who was Englewoods mayor from 2004 to 2010, is a lifelong Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter who also represents Melania Trump, the wife of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
Because there is some controversy about Ms. Trumps immigration status she is undeniably a U.S. citizen now, but questions still swirl around her path to citizenship and because Mr. Trumps statements about immigrants frighten many immigrants and their allies, and seem ironic if not actively hypocritical when juxtaposed with Ms. Trumps history and because it is not easy to be an active and public Democrat supporting this president-elect in any case Mr. Wildes finds himself choosing his words very carefully these days.
Mr. Wildes primary loyalty is to the Democratic Party, he says he is devoted as well to maintaining his reputation as an outstanding immigration lawyer, and it is in that capacity, he says, that he upholds the integrity of Ms. Trumps immigration saga.
There are two parts to this story. The macro story is about immigration, and Mr. Wildes take on Mr. Trumps possible actions in that arena. The micro story is about one particular immigrant, Melania Knauss Trump.
To start with, Mr. Wildes believes very strongly that the immigration system as it exists now in the United States is broken.
He may surprise people.
Melania Trump’s Slovenian Parents Become Us Citizens
President Donald Trump’s parents-in-law have become US citizens in a private ceremony.
Viktor and Amalija Knavs, Melania Trump’s Slovenian-born parents, took the oath of citizenship in New York on Thursday, their lawyer confirmed.
He said the pair had been living in the US on green cards sponsored by Mrs Trump.
President Trump has railed against family-based or “chain” immigration in the past.
He argues instead for a merit-based system prioritising professionals over relatives, and has drawn criticism for his vocal attacks on immigration laws and immigrants.
CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!
Donald J. Trump
Melania Trump became a US citizen in 2006, after entering the US on a coveted Einstein visa for people of “extraordinary ability” in 2001 when she was working as a model.
Under US immigration law, Melania’s parents would need to have had green cards for at least five years before they could apply for citizenship.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, an average naturalisation application in New York takes between 11 and 21 months and is dependent on numerous character and residency requirements.
Their lawyer Michael Wildes – who attended the ceremony with them – told reporters outside they had met the five year condition but refused to give more details, according to the New York Times.
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Acquisition Of United States Citizenship
Knauss came to the United States from Slovenia in 1996 on a visitor’s visa and was paid for 10 modeling jobs during the seven weeks before she obtained an H-1B work visa. In March 2001, while she was dating Donald Trump, she was granted permanent residency under the EB-1 program for people with “extraordinary abilities”. According to information from the Migration Policy Institute, only 2 percent of people in their field would be expected to qualify.The Washington Post in 2018 reported that at that time Knauss’s credentials included “runway shows in Europe, a Camel cigarette billboard ad in Times Square andin her biggest job at the timea spot in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, which featured her on the beach in a string bikini, hugging a six-foot inflatable whale”. In the analysis by Joel Gunter of the BBC, ” does not appear at the time to have excelled in a niche area of modelling, nor won awards or had her work written about in significant publications” Gunter reports a conjecture that
She may have been boosted by high-profile testimonial letters, said Nita Upadhye, a U.S. immigration specialist at NNU Immigration Law. Testimonials form part of the application, and the more high-profile the reference the more weight it carries. If Mrs. Trump, already dating Mr. Trump at the time she applied, secured letters from luminaries in fashion, that would be significant, Ms. Upadhye said.
Was Melania Trump Once An Undocumented Immigrant Spokeswoman Denies Claim As Questions Resurface
President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies, including a “zero tolerance” approach that has resulted in the separation of families at the southern border, have once more raised questions over whether his wife, Melania Trump, was at one point undocumented and benefited from programs her husband condemns.
Has ever been undocumented at any point?
I think it’s important for everyone to know that MELANIA TRUMP was once undocumented and illegally working in the U.S. as a model.
The first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham on Monday denied that Melania ever came to the United States from Slovenia illegally, or stayed without proper documentation.
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“Mrs. Trump followed the law at all times and entered the country legally,” Grisham told Newsweek in an email.
Michael Wildes, an immigration attorney for the first lady and her family, provided Newsweek with a similar comment on Tuesday.
“Mrs. Trump was always in lawful immigration status from her professional work visa, unto her Green Card and is now a U.S. citizen,” Wildes wrote in an email. “The government fully vetted her status at each station.”
However, the news conference never materialized.
This story has been updated with a comment from immigration attorney Wildes.
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Melania Trumps Jan 6 Statement Reignites Suspicions About Her Signature: Looks Exactly Like Donalds
Melania Trumps claiming that she was unaware of the Jan. 6 insurrection as it was taking place has come under scrutiny but not for the reason you may think. Social media users zeroed in on the signature capping off the Thursday missive, noting that it bears an uncanny resemblance to that of her husband, former president Donald Trump.
I mean, what the hell? tweeted writer and radio host Bob Cesca above an zoomed-in image of the choppy, illegible signature. Her signature looks exactly like Donalds. You dont think thats weird?
Gee. Its so weird how Donald Trump and his wife Melania have such a similar spiky signature, replied another user in all caps. Who could have foreseen that two human beings who ended up married would have identical handwriting
Another user took his misgivings directly to the top, tagging the Justice Dept. and the Jan. 6 committees official accounts in a tweet that read, Is forging someones signature legal? This isnt Melanias signature. Its Donalds. Theres no crime he wont commit.
Whats Up With Melanias Parents
As Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post explains, there are two main possibilities for the Knavses visa status:
- They might be in the US as legal permanent residents on an IR-5 visa as parents of an adult US citizen.
- Because they appear to be here in a grandparental capacity rather than working, they also might be here on an extended tourist visa.
If they are here on a tourist visa, its a little difficult to see why the White House wouldnt just say that. The Trump administration hasnt proposed any changes to tourist visas. And if the Knavses are in the US with their family for the long term on a tourist basis, that might bolster the White Houses argument that theres no compelling need to let citizens sponsor permanent residency visas for their foreign-born parents.
But if Melanias parents are here on IR-5 visas, the White Houses proposal to kill this category of visa is renewed as a topic of political discussion. On an immigration policy call with reporters held Wednesday morning, a White House official answered a question about the Knavses by saying that while they were not going to get into specific cases, it was a fallacy to think that just because a policy was in place in the past means it should continue indefinitely into the future.
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Melania Trump Statement On Immigration Status Dodges Key Points
Although she may be a proud citizen, Trumps own statements suggest she may not have followed all applicable laws, immigration experts say.
In a January profile in Harpers Bazaar, Trump said she would return home from New York to renew her visa every few months. It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are, she said. 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.
In a February interview with Mika Brzezinski of MSNBCs Morning Joe, Trump repeated that characterization of her early years in the United States. I never thought to stay here without papers. I had visa. I travel every few months back to the country to Slovenia to stamp the visa. I came back. I applied for the green card. I applied for the citizenship later on.
The Trump campaign and Trump Organization representatives did not address questions about the type of visa Trump first used to enter the country, but it has been widely reported that she came here on an H-1B work visa. Writer Mickey Rapkin, who interviewed Melania for a May profile in the luxury lifestyle magazine DuJour, said she confirmed as much to him. When I interviewed Melania, I mentioned that shed come to New York on that H-1B visa, and she nodded in agreement, Rapkin wrote in an email to POLITICO.
Melania Could Have Committed Visa Fraud Or She Could Have Been Duped By Unscrupulous Employers
To be clear: Melania Knauss didnt enter the US illegally. But she did, if the APs reporting is correct, violate immigration law.
Technically, she violated her tourist visa the minute she engaged in employment for pay in the US. But its possible that she didnt know that.
B-visas are often issued to temporary business visitors who are here for business activities but not allowed to work. Its for people who are going to professional conferences, for example, or networking with associates or even negotiating a contract for future employment. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services website explains that activities under a business visitor visa must be directly connected with and part of your work abroad.
Legally, working for pay for a US company is a clear violation of the terms of that visa, but its not exactly intuitive that someone coming on a business visa, especially if shed been working as a model in Europe, wouldnt be allowed to work.
This summer, when questions about Melanias immigration status first came up, a Politico article cited a labor standards advocacy groups claim that t was a common practice in the 1990s in New York for less scrupulous agencies to bring in foreign models to work illegally on temporary business and tourist visas. If Melania Trump was on the same sort of visa as everyone else she worked with, its totally possible that she was simply being misled as to its legality.
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Did Melania Ever Work Illegally
Melania was able to obtain her H-1B under the very specific fashion model category. One of the questions that may have come up is whether or not she had worked illegally. We cannot say one way or the other if Melania worked illegally, USCIS may or may not know. If Melania were on a visitor visa and did any work in the United States prior to obtaining the H-1B, she would have been working without authorization and then she would be deportable.
One of the things the Trump administration is doing that has never been done is analyzing permanent residency and citizenship cases to determine if they were obtained through fraud. If it were ever to come out that there was a record of Melania being a fashion model prior to the approval of her H-1B visa, then her citizenship could be taken away.
It used to be that in the United States, once youre a citizen, youre a citizen. You can be executed for treason. But very seldom will they revoke your citizenship. However, it is within USCIS power to revoke permanent residency or citizenship if they discovered that Melania had been a fashion model prior to her obtaining the H-1B.
First Lady Melania Trump Sponsored Parents’ Green Card Application: Sources
Viktor and Amalija Knavs were naturalized as U.S. citizens on Thursday.
The first lady’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in as U.S. citizens at a federal immigration court in New York City.
“Citizenship was just awarded,” the Slovenian couple’s immigration lawyer Michael Wildes said after accompanying them to the courthouse.
When ABC News asked whether Melania Trump sponsored her parents, Wildes deflected the question and responded that “they applied on their own.”
Wildes did not elaborate on exactly through what means or program the couple became citizens.
“Everything was through a normal process. Like everybody else here you’re allowed to apply after five years of having your green card and so forth. It was all done lawfully,” Wildes told reporters.
Wildes’ response does not clarify whether the Knavses obtained citizenship through what their son-in-law President Donald Trump has derisively called “chain migration” or whether the first lady did indeed sponsor them.
“They have travailed a wonderful journey like most have millions have in getting citizenship and waiting the requisite period of time,” Wildes said. “The application, the process, the interview was no different than anybody else’s other than security arrangements to facilitate today.”
In February, the Knavses were confirmed as permanent residents of the United States after emigrating from Slovenia by Wildes.
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Melania Trumps Immigration History Explained
Melania Trump came to the US in the mid-1990s to work as a model. But the specifics of her arrival, and the specific immigration status she had before getting a green card in 2001, were always unclear and have provoked a great deal of speculation about whether she was really a legal immigrant for the entire time she lived in the US.
The APs reporting doesnt answer all the questions that have been raised about Melanias immigration status, including how she got her green card in 2001. But it does establish a clear timeline for how she came to the US to begin with.
According to the AP, Melania Knauss first came to the US in August 1996 on a B1/B2 tourist visa. Tourist visas allow someone to stay in the US for six months, but they cant seek employment in the US during that time.
Then on October 18, 1996, the AP found, she got an H-1B visa for skilled workers allowing her to work legally in the US as a model.
The problem is that the APs documentation shows that Melania was paid for 10 modeling assignments between September 10 and October 15 while she was still on the tourist visa. In other words, she was working on a visa that didnt legally permit her to work and thus was violating the terms by which shed been allowed to come to the US.
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There are quirky exceptions to people on a B-1 visa who are able to work certain domestic servants who are entering the country to accompany their employers who are in the country temporarily, added Greenfield. But I cant imagine that would apply to models.
If Melania was traveling to the U.S. on a B-1 business visa, there is a potential problem, said a Washington-based partner of a major national immigration law firm. She would not have been authorized to work in the U.S. while on a B-1 visa. In fact, if a customs agent encounters someone entering the U.S. on a B-1 visa and they know that the individual intends to work for a U.S. employer, the individual will usually be denied admission. In order to avoid being sent back to Slovenia, she may have had to lie about the purpose of her trip.
Visa fraud would call into question a green card application and subsequent citizenship application, said immigration lawyers thus raising questions about Melania Trumps legal status, even today, despite her marriage to a U.S. citizen.
Violations of U.S. visa law are hardly unusual, particularly in the modeling industry. It was a common practice in the 1990s in New York for less scrupulous agencies to bring in foreign models to work illegally on temporary business and tourist visas, according to Sara Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance, a group that advocates improved labor standards for fashion models.
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