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When Will Trump Answer Melania, Other Models, Visa Fraud Allegations? Roger Algase

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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

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Updated 09-08-2016 at 03:22 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. MKolken's Avatar
    I'd take anything David Leopold has to say with a grain of salt considering the fact that he is a Democratic operative who has a history of undermining immigrants for political gain.

    He previously stated when trying to protect the President from an immigrant rights movement that “Humanitarian parole is something that is used very sparingly — it has to be used very sparingly — and none of them qualify for it or for asylum from what I can tell.” Leopold was proven spectacularly wrong when they established credible fear, and were released on parole.

    Putting your politics before principle is no way to practice law.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I am not familiar with David Leopold's background or views on other immigration issues, except as mentioned in the Washington Post article that I referred to. However, his views on H-1B visas and on visitor visa issues mentioned in that article are entirely sound and, as an attorney with more than 30 years' experience in H-1B cases, I did not see anything to dispute or or disagree with in his comments.

    That is why I quoted them. He may favor a different presidential candidate from Matt, or they may disagree on other immigration law related issues. That would not be relevant to or necessarily detract from the accuracy of his comments about the legal issue of what constitutes visa fraud that I quoted from in my post.That is the subject of my above comment.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 09-09-2016 at 12:23 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. MKolken's Avatar
    Are you familiar with denaturalization and removal? Will your bloodlust for Donald Trump be satisfied should his wife be deported?

    I find it shameful.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Matt may be mixing up two entirely different proposals here. I have never called for Melania Trump to be deported. I have only pointed out a certain disconnect, whixh can appropriately be called hypocrisy, between Trump's proposal to engage in mass deportation of millions of people (more or less - possibly a few people here and there might be spared, as per Trump's latest proposal described in Matt's blog) - and the fact that Trump's own company and his own wife may have - allegedly- this has not been proven - been engaged in visa fraud.

    But there is a proposal out there to deport an American citizen woman whose name is also in the news quite a bit these days - her name is Hillary Clinton, and the proposal was made, not by me, but by Donald Trump. Read his August 31 Arizona speech.

    If anyone missed that particular part of the speech, I invite him or her to read the speech again.

    Yes, it is easy to say that this proposal was made as a joke, but how do we know? Trump has not said it was a joke. His impassioned followers, who have been calling at his rallies for Hillary Clinton to be locked up - not normally the fate of political opponents in a democracy, win or lose - and some Trump supporters are even calling or her to be "hanged" or shot for treason - are not necessarily treating this as a joke.

    i am not motivated by any personal vendetta or feelings against Trump in my comments about him. I have even defended Trump on occasion, such as when I believed that he was unfairly accused of anti-semitism because of a message he put out about Hillary Clinton using a six pointed star.

    My only point, which has a good deal of recent history of anti-minority persecution in Nazi Germany and many other places to back up, is that if Trump's demonizing of immigrants and advocacy of drastic enforcement measures, as well as severe proposed limits on legal immigration which do not seem to be getting the attention they deserve, are taken in the larger context of his attacks against the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, due process of law and protection against torture, his candidacy poses a great danger to the survival of our democracy.

    If discussing the issue of survival of our democracy is "shameful" then America is in very serious trouble.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 09-09-2016 at 12:54 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. MKolken's Avatar
    Roger, you have speculated that Melania Trump "allegedly, obtained a visitor visa or used it to enter the US by fraud or material misrepresentation" and it "might just be the beginning of her potential US immigration problems."

    As you are aware, the inevitable consequence of obtaining a visa by fraud or material misrepresentation in connection to a subsequent failure to disclose on an application for adjustment, and naturalization is denaturalization, the institution of removal, and deportation.

    So whether you realize it or not, you ARE calling for Melania Trump to be deported.

    What is shameful is not "discussing the survival of our democracy," but that a lawyer with more than 30 years experience representing immigrants is calling for an examination of a naturalized citizen's records with the end result of deportation to exact political retribution on her husband.
    Updated 09-09-2016 at 02:35 PM by MKolken
  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Matt, your response, coming from a leading advocate of the rights of immigrants facing deportation, who has done as much if not more than any other lawyer in America to draw attention to the injustices and abuses of immigrants facing possible removal or already caught up in that process, is something that I find extremely surprising.

    Here we have a candidate for the highest office in the country, who would be in control of our entire immigration system if elected,, who over and over again, has reiterated his intention to deport millions of people, in all likelihood far more than Obama's 2 million in the past eight years, (which Trump calls "weak" enforcement or worse) and to begin doing it within an hour after taking office, or to do it "so fast it will make your head spin".

    He has also proposed using torture against foreign citizens, in violation of federal criminal law (See 18 USC Section 2340 et seq.) and the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, and has recently said that he would be "fine" with sending US citizens to Guantanamo!

    Where would these proposals leave your own efforts to make the public aware of the unlawful incarceration and denial of counsel and other basic rights to immigrants that is already taking place under the current administration, which Trump has accused of intentionally "flooding" this country with illegal immigrants?

    This does not mean that I am supporting or opposing any particular candidate in this year's election, or that I am advocating any particular political agenda.

    But it does mean that if a candidate who has been proposing draconian deportation measures, very possibly on a scale far exceeding anything that has been done in America to date, even by the current administration, has been running a company that has, allegedly, been telling its employees to lie to visa or immigration officers about their intended activities in the US, or even happens to be married to someone who, allegedly, may have done the same thing, there could be an element of hypocrisy or double standard involved which is a perfectly legitimate subject of discussion, both as a matter of immigration law and for future immigration policy implications.

    At the very least, it raises questions about whether Trump would apply whatever immigration enforcement policy or policies he may finally decide on equally, and without favoratism, or whether these enforcement policies would apply to Mexican, Muslim and other mainly non-white immigrants who might have run afoul of the law, but not to his own European wife or mainly European models brought into the US by his own company who might, allegedly, also have violated the immigration laws.

    Simply talking about these issues does not imply that anyone should be deported or (or prosecuted) and I have no intention of making any such suggestion.

    To the contrary, I am only suggesting that a rational, humanistic, immigration enforcement policy, one in keeping with America's spirit and traditions as a nation of immigrants, would include tolerance and compassion for immigrants who may have committed relatively minor immigration violations, such as those alleged in the case of Melania Trump, or in the cases of certain models that Trump Model Management reportedly brought into the United States.

    One would hope that the same tolerance and compassion would be shown toward millions of other immigrants who are now in this country and who may also have an actual or alleged record of relatively minor immigration violations that present no present danger to America.
    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 09-10-2016 at 05:49 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Matt, on further thought, you do have a point. Certainly, I should be showing more respect for our Great Leader, Donald Trump, especially when he continues to lavish praise on his fellow Great Leader, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  8. Loperol's Avatar
    If Donald Trump ascends to the presidency, he WILL NOT rescind Obama's 2012 DACA, nor will he halt Obama's 2014 DACA+/DAPA (assuming SCOTUS lifts the current injunction on United States vs. Texas once Justice Merrick Garland is confirmed).
  9. MKolken's Avatar
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