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Melania Trump photos raise questions about her immigration status

By Shawn Price
Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump denied that she worked in New York before 1996, despite nude photos of her on the cover of the New York that are dated in 1995. The photos are part of evidence that Trump might have worked illegally in the United States, an act that would potentially threaten her current legal citizenship. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/ac174ed8367dba63cfa94924dd6f9df2/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump denied that she worked in New York before 1996, despite nude photos of her on the cover of the New York that are dated in 1995. The photos are part of evidence that Trump might have worked illegally in the United States, an act that would potentially threaten her current legal citizenship. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Melania Trump said Thursday that she never worked illegally in the United States after she arrived from Slovenia, despite evidence that could threaten her current legal status.

Trump released the statement on Twitter after nude images of her, reportedly taken in the U.S. in 1995 appeared on the cover of the New York Post this week. Her own biography and her husband, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, say she immigrated in 1996.

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The photos raise questions over whether Trump worked as a model illegally before getting a work visa. A point that would be trivial to most Americans if her husband had not made illegal immigration a central pillar of his campaign.

"In recent days there has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996. Let me set the record straight," Trump tweeted, referring to 1996 instead of 1995. "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."

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CBS News and GQ Magazine also reported that Trump did not graduate from a Slovenian college like she claims on her website. The site has since been taken down.

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Various evidence appears to place her in New York City in 1995. Trump has said she would return to Slovenia every few months to renew her visa, but if so, she was on a B-1 Temporary Business Visitor or B-2 Tourist Visa, which immigration experts say lasts up to six months and doesn't allow the visitor to work.

Experts say these types of visa violations are common in modeling, and were particularly so in the 1990s. But if any foreign model did so, it's visa fraud, said Andrew Greenfield, a partner at immigration law specialists Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.

If Trump committed visa fraud, experts said, it would undermine the legality of her green card and eventual citizenship, even now.

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