NEW YORK, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- In a rare television appearance, Melania Trump batted down claims that her husband, GOP front-runner Donald Trump, insulted immigrants, saying she was a legal immigrant herself.
"I followed the law," Melania told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski Wednesday morning. "I never thought to stay here without papers. I had a visa, I traveled 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 after many years of green card. So I went by system, I went by the law. And you should do that, you should not just say let me stay here and whatever happens, happens."
Brzezinski asked Trump whether or not her husband's constant tirades against undocumented immigrants were insulting to Mexicans. When Trump announced his candidacy over the summer, he said Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border.
"He said illegal immigrants. He didn't talk about everybody. He talked about illegal immigrants," she replied. "And after a few weeks, like two weeks [of] giving him a hard time and bashing him in the media, they turned around. They said, 'you know what, he's right. He's right what he's talking about.' And he opened conversation that nobody did."
The Slovenian model-turned-stay-at-home-mom immigrated to the United States in 1996 as her modeling career began to take off.
To become a permanent U.S. resident, Trump would have had to reside in the country four five years before receiving a green card. It is not clear what type of visa she obtained to come to the United States, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services do offer a specific visa for international fashion models.
Before Melania's five years were up, she met her now husband Donald Trump at New York Fashion Week in 1998. She soon came under the management of Trump Model Management. The two married in 2005.