Melania Trump, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is battling accusations that she violated visa rules when she began modeling work in New York. Questions regarding her immigration status arose after Politico released a report about her early visits to the US.
"In recent days there have been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996," Trump said in a statement.
"Let me set the record straight: I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period. Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue. In July 2006, I proudly became a US citizen. Over the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to live, work and raise a family in this great nation and I share my husband's love for our country."
However, Politico highlighted that nude photographs of the GOP nominee's wife published this week bring up inconsistencies in accounts she has given over the years. Trump's own comments suggest that she came to the US on a short-term visa that would not have allowed her to legally work in the US.
Politico noted that while she affirms that she came to the US in 1996, the nude photoshoot and a biography published by Slovenian journalists in February places her in the States in 1995. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar in January, Trump said she had to return home to Europe every few months to renew her visa.
"It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers," 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."
Although the Trump campaign has not clarified what type of visa Melania Trump used, reports suggest it was a H-1B work visa. Immigration experts, however, said that Trump's accounts of visa renewals are inconsistent with her holding an H-1B visa. That type of work visa can be valid for three years and can be extended for up to six years and does not require frequent renewals in Europe.
Politico reported that Trump's story instead is more consistent with the B-1 Temporary Business Visitor or B-2 Tourist Visa, which lasts up to six months and does not allow employment. If someone were to work in the US with one of those visas, it would be considered visa fraud, attorney Andrew Greenfield said. Visa fraud would then open up questions about a green card application and citizenship application.
Reports of divisions between the Trump campaign and the Republican Party, as well as reports of turmoil within the campaign itself, have dominated the news cycle. Tensions between Trump and the GOP have been particularly high after he refused to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan.
During a campaign stop in Florida, Trump insisted the party was united behind his campaign, Sky News reported. However, campaign chairman Paul Manafort confirmed to ABC's Good Morning America that there were some divisions within the campaign.
"There's a conflict within the Trump campaign," Manafort said. 'We've sort of had to rule of not getting involved in primaries because it's usually not a good situation for the presidential candidate. Of course, he's going to work with Paul Ryan."