As Donald Trump continues to send out signals, including those in his August 31 Arizona speech, that he intends to deport everyone in the US who entered illegally or overstayed a visa, not just criminals or other allegedly dangerous immigrants, unanswered questions continue to swirl over allegations (unproven so far, to be sure) that his modeling agency, Trump Model Management brought models to the US as visitors and encouraged them to lie about their real intentions of working in the United States.


The Mother Jones story includes the following (yes, I repeat, so far unproven) bombshell allegation:

"Two of the former Trump models said Trump's agency encouraged them to deceive Customs officials about why they were visitng the United States and told them to lie on customs forms about where they intended to live. Anna said she received a specific instruction from a Trump agency representative: 'If they ask you any questions, you're just here for meetings.'"

"Anna" (not her real name, according to the article), also told Mother Jones as follows:

"Going through customs for this trip was one of the worst experiences of my life...It's hard enough when your there perfectly innocently, but when you know you've lied on what was essentially a federal document, it's a whole new world."

The article also states:

"After making it through immigration she [Anna] burst into tears."

At the same time, the Washington Post reports that a promised news conference has not yet taken place dealing with Melania Trump's visa status when she allegedly first began working as a nude model in the US, including (also as yet unproven) allegations that she may have used a fraudulently obtained visitor's visa to enter the US in order to work illegally several months before obtaining a legal H-1B work visa (a category that Donald Trump's wife no longer needs and which he now wants to abolish).

See: Washington Post: Philip Bump, September 2,

Weeks after campaign pledged answers, big questions about Melania Trump's immigration status linger.

See also my own August 4 post

But no matter how much the Trump campaign may try to ignore these stories, they are not likely to go away any time soon.

The above latest Washington Post story describes an interview with Cleveland attorney and former AILA president David Leopold (and, admittedly, a donor to Hillary Clinton campaign). According to the interview, Leopold makes the following points about Melania Trump's alleged visa difficulties. First (and most essentially, Leopold quotes Melania Trump's own reported statement as follows:

"I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here. It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. 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. (Italics Added.)

All the questions about the genuineness of Melania Trump's visa history in the United States being with the italicized portion of the above quote. The Washington Post story describes Leopold's comments about this quote from Melania as follows:

"According to Leopold, the need to have to travel back to her home country wouldn't accompany a visa linked to employment, in his experience."

At this point, I would add: this is not just based on Mr. Leopold's experience. I have been representing H-1B visa clients for more than 30 years. An H-1B petition approval is normally issued for 3 years, renewable for at least 3 more years, and in some cases even longer, if the H-1B worker has an employer-sponsored labor certification green card case in process that meets certain conditions.

In some cases, but by no means all, if the H-1B worker is already in the US when the prospective employer's H-1B petition is approved, the worker may need to leave the US to get an H-1B visa stamp from a US embassy or consulate overseas and return with that visa.

This would be the case, for example, if the H-1B worker was in the US illegally, or had violated the terms of a previous legal visa, or if the H-1B worker's previous legal status had expired prior to the employer's filing the H-1B petition on his or her behalf with USCIS.

But even in that case, the H-1B worker would normally receive a visa stamp good for up to 3 years. The need to leave the US every few months to reenter with a new visa (or more likely, passport entry) stamp is simply not consistent with having lawful H-1B work permission.

As the WP quotes Mr. Leopold:

"The only time I've sen that - and I've been doing this a long time, and I've compared notes with other immigration lawyers - that the coming in and going out, to anyone who'se been around this stuff, suggests she was on a visitor visa, which doesn't permit work."

And Leopold continues, according to the WP:

"If Melania Trump came in on a visitor visa and began working [after] a short period of time, the government would assume that she entered the country fraudulently. If she told a customs official she was entering the United States as a visitor but was planning to work, that would be a material misrepresentation." (Italics added.)

But if Melania Trump, allegedly, obtained a visitor visa or used it to enter the US by fraud or material misrepresentation, that might just be the beginning of her potential US immigration problems.

To be continued in Part 2.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work permits and green cards. H-1B specialty occupation work visas and skilled or professional worker labor certification green cards form a major part of Roger's practice.

His email address is