Politics

Trump's Supreme Court Position Could Deport Melania

| by Sheena Vasani

The Trump administration's stance on a Supreme Court immigration case could have implications for first lady Melania Trump's citizenship status.

On April 26, the Trump administration argued in support of the deportation of a Serbian woman trying to apply for U.S. citizenship who misreported information about her husband, Slate reports.

But in a stance that raised eyebrows even among conservatives, Justice Department lawyers took their argument a step further. The Trump administration argued any mistake -- no matter how small -- on that type of paperwork justifies voiding a person's citizenship as well as expulsion.

Their argument immediately worried many.

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"[It is] rather surprising that the government of the United States thinks [that the naturalization laws should be] interpreted in a way that would throw into doubt the citizenship of vast percentages of all naturalized citizens," said Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, reports The New York Times.

"Your argument is demeaning the priceless value of citizenship,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said. "You’re arguing for the government of the United States, talking about what citizenship is and ought to mean."

But the ultimate irony is that the person who should be most concerned is President Donald Trump.

By supporting such an extreme stance, Ben Mathis-Lilley of Slate says he puts his wife's citizenship in peril.

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Although a lawyer reviewed Melania's immigration documents in 2016 and found she had arrived and lived in the U.S. legally, The Associated Press later said the first lady was in violation of her 1996 visitor's visa.

Melania, had allegedly done paid modeling for many weeks -- something, it appears, she likely did not include in her documents if her lawyer says she arrived legally.

"If, as her lawyer's statement would appear to imply, Melania did not subsequently disclose this violation on other immigration documents, the Trump administration's current position would thus suggest she -- the first lady of the United States -- is subject to deportation," Mathis-Lilley argues.

It's not the first time the Trump administration has stood by sentiments that hold, or could have held, dire consequences for his wife.

In January 2017, Trump ruled immigration officials must expel any foreign nation who has "engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a government agency," reports The Independent.

As many experts noted, if Trump had been president before Melania because a citizen in 2006, she likely would have been deported.

"[She] definitely violated her status, and if it came to immigration’s attention, yeah, they certainly could put her into removal proceedings," said Cheryl Davis, a New York City immigration specialist.

Sources: Slate (2), The New York Times, The Independent / Photo credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Kalie Jones/Wikimedia Commons

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