Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson said on Aug. 4 that Melania Trump should be allowed to stay in the U.S. regardless of the controversy surrounding the circumstances in which the former Slovenian model immigrated.
According to RawStory.com, Johnson issued a cheeky statement that appeared to be trolling Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump:
Republicans for Johnson-Weld vigorously defends allowing Melania Trump to stay in the U.S., despite calls from her husband's supporters this morning to strip her of her U.S. citizenship and deport her.
We also welcome her to join our effort in support of the only presidential ticket committed to making legal immigration vastly simpler and more available to people from around the world -- including Slovenian models -- who want to come to America and contribute to our country.
While Donald Trump is running on a platform to deport 12 million people, apparently including his own wife, Johnson-Weld stands for allowing people in Melania’s circumstances to stay, and over time, become citizens if they learn English, pay their back taxes, and pay a fine...
The issue of Melania's immigration was raised by POLITICO on Aug. 4, which noted that the New York Post recently featured partially-nude photos from Melania's nude modeling in the U.S. from 1995, one year before Melania said she came to New York City to model in 1996.
POLITICO reports that Melania told Harper’s Bazaar in January: "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."
Melania also told MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" in February: "I never thought to stay here without papers. I had visa. I travel 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."
POLITICO notes that neither Trump's political campaign or his company would answer questions about the type of visa that Melania used, but Mickey Rapkin, who wrote about her for lifestyle magazine DuJour in May, told the news site: "When I interviewed Melania, I mentioned that she’d come to New York on that H-1B visa, and she nodded in agreement."
According to POLITICO, Melania's version of returning home periodically to renew her visa every few months is not how an H-1B visa works. That type of visa is good for three years, and can be made to last six years or even longer.
If Melania did arrive in New York City in 1996 and got a green card in 2001, as she has said, then she most likely wouldn't have been required to return home to renew an H-1B.
POLITICO notes that Melania's version of events sounds more like a B-1 Temporary Business Visitor or B-2 Tourist Visa that is only valid up to six months and does not allow that person to be employed.
According to the news site's follow-up article, Melania tweeted a response on Aug 4:
In recent days there has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation regarding my immigration status back in 1996. 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.
POLITICO notes that Melania's response did not address her frequent trips back to Slovenia to renew her visa or that a short-term visa would not have allowed her to be employed in the U.S. as a model (or at any other job).
Melania's Slovenian biographer told the news site that Melania was modeling in the U.S. in 1995, which was not "technically" legal.
Additionally, Matthew Atanian told POLITICO in April how he and Melania shared a New York City apartment during a time period between 1995 to 1996.