It turns out that Melania Trump, née Knauss, has been hiding something about her immigration status up the sleeves she occasionally wears that has been previously unknown. While it was as plain as the hypocrisy in everything her husband rails about that she was the beneficiary of the system he now calls “chain migration” in order to make it sound like a scary parade of brown people are marching through the streets of America, the exact details of Melania’s original visa — the reason she was even able to take advantage of that system — were clouded.
According to a new report from Axios, Knauss came here on an EB-1 visa back in 2001, and what that entails just sends the irony meter through the roof.
When you think of people exploiting a government program, your mind always goes to welfare or food stamps or disability checks gathered while someone goes fishing. There’s almost no chance whatsoever that you think of people exploiting the immigration system since it’s so notoriously hard to navigate — unless you think of it in terms of the “chain migration” that Republicans are always angry about.
But that’s really only true for nonwhites — Mexicans, Africans, Indians, Islanders, etc. The truth is, white people exploit the immigration system all the time.
And that’s exactly what Melania Knauss did. The EB-1 visa is specifically reserved for people with “extraordinary ability” and “sustained national and international acclaim.” Think scientists, researchers, soccer players, and the like. In fact, many call it the “Einstein Visa.”
What was Melania’s “extraordinary ability?” Axios lists the acceptable forms, of which an applicant must show three:
- Received a lesser nationally or internationally known prize or award
- A member of an elite association in their field
- The subject of published material in major media or major trade publication
- Have been asked to judge others’ work
- Contributed “scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related” material of “major significance” in the field
- Written and published scholarly articles in major publications or media
- Work displayed at art exhibits or showcases
- Played a leading or critical role in “distinguished organizations”
- Paid high salary or “other significantly high remuneration” compared to others in the field
- “Commercial successes in the performing arts”
The closest she comes to fitting any of those criteria is the third: “The subject of published material in major media or major trade publication.” Why? Because she was in an issue of Sports Illustrated in a bikini. Even there she isn’t really the “subject” of the published material. She’s yet another model in yet another swimsuit.
Interestingly, her lawyer still refuses to say whether Knauss sponsored her parents’ immigration and citizenship — which they are at the end stage process of getting — based on her own visa.
I wonder why that is.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images