Kids, you can’t make this stuff up!
According to a report today in The Washington Post, in 2001, Melania Knauss was granted the EB-1, a green card for academics, often called “the Einstein visa.” The year before she began petitioning the government for the right to permanently reside in the U.S. under a program reserved for people with “extraordinary ability.”
At the time her credentials included,
“runway shows in Europe, a Camel cigarette billboard ad in Times Square and — in her biggest job at the time — a spot in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, which featured her on the beach in a string bikini, hugging a six-foot inflatable whale.
In all, of the more than 1 million green cards issued in 2001, just 3,376 — or a fraction of 1 percent — were issued to immigrants with ‘extraordinary ability,’ according to government statistics.
Melania Trump’s ability to secure her green card not only set her on the path to U.S. citizenship, but put her in the position to sponsor the legal residency of her parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs.”
Isn’t that what Trump now calls “chain migration.” Trump tweeted in November,
“CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!”
Michael Wildes, an attorney for Melania and her family, declined to comment on whether she sponsored her parents for green cards. He declined to discuss the qualifications that the first lady cited in her petition for permanent residency but said,
“Mrs. Trump was more than amply qualified and solidly eligible. There is no reason to adjudicate her petition publicly when her privacy is so important to her.”
To obtain an EB-1 under the extraordinary ability category, an immigrant has to provide evidence of a major award or meet at least three out of 10 criteria, like evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, evidence of work displayed at artistic exhibitions and evidence of original contributions to a field.
David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association,
“What did she submit?. There are a lot of questions about how she procured entry into the United States.”
She was not widely known in the New York fashion world. (I know, I was working in it during this time.) One person who knew her in the 90s and but requested anonymity from WaPo said,
“She was never a supermodel; she was a working model — like so many others in New York.”
Sort of. More specifically, like a certain kind of model, once they catch the whale, they give up fishing altogether. And sometimes they catch Moby Dick. Or in Melania’s case, just a dick who steals an election, ruins our Democracy and ends up POTUS.
(Photo, YouTube; via Washington Post)