Melania Trump dismissed any suggestion that she may have lived or worked illegally in the U.S., saying via a statement posted to Twitter that she has always complied with U.S. immigration laws.
“In recent days there has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996,” Ms. Trump’s statement reads. “Let me set the record straight: I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country.”
Ms. Trump’s statement was released following a report in Politico that raised questions about her immigration status in the 1990s. The article said nude modeling photos taken in 1995 and published this week in the New York Post were evidence she was in the U.S. a year earlier than she had previously stated. Also, a Bloomberg View article focused on questions about her visas.
The Trumps haven’t said what kind of visa or visa Ms. Trump held before she obtained her green card. A green card frees its holder to live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident, and puts the holder on a path to citizenship.
Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s campaign spokeswoman,said Ms. Trump has always complied with immigration laws.Ms. Hicks declined to comment on why Ms. Trump’s written statement doesn’t address the year 1995.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in January, Ms. Trump said of her move to America: “I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here. It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. … 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. After the green card, I applied for citizenship. And it was a long process.”
She became a citizen in 2006.
The growing controversy around Ms. Trump’s immigration status falls on the backdrop of a campaign that has made illegal immigration a core issue. Mr. Trump has pledged to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S. and build a wall on the Mexican border to keep would-be immigrants out.