mt-pprs-why1Why is Melania Trump’s immigration story important? She is not running for president, her husband is. So why focus on her immigration story and why is it relevant to the presidential election? Because Melania Trump has unequivocally stated that she immigrated the “right way” and her husband has made immigration the central part of his presidential campaign platform. Because of this, Melania Trump’s immigration is important to the larger discussion of immigration reform in the United States.

As some of you may know, last week, Melania Trump took to Twitter to publish a letter from immigration attorney Michael Wildes who asserts, in the letter, that Melania Trump used the proper visa types to enter the United States and work in the country. Wildes creates a timeline of the types of visa’s Trump used. According to the attorney’s letter, they were a B1-B2 visa, five H1B visas in one year increments, a so-called “green card” and finally becoming a US citizen. It seems like the timeline posted by Melania Trump by her attorney should end the controversy.

But it doesn’t because it lacks specificity that someone who did it the “right way” should be able to produce.

As many of you know, I am an immigrant. Although I can’t tell you the exact date, unlike Melania Trump, that I entered the US for the first time, I was a baby, I can produce for you a document attesting to how I entered the country. This, even after numerous robberies of my belongings over the years and several moves to different cities in several countries. I have been in and out of the United States for almost fifty years now.

As you know, Donald Trump has argued that immigrants need to follow the proper path to enter the US. He has argued other immigration-related issues, but he has stated that he is open to individuals coming into the country the “right way.”

His wife, Melania, has stated the she was always in the country the “right way.”

When questions first arose about Melania Trump’s immigration and work status, Donald Trump and Melania promised to hold a press conference to address the controversies. The press conference has yet to be held. Instead, Melania Trump released the letter from her attorney.

Even after weeks of time to gather and prepare a proper dossier about her immigration story, the only thing Melania Trump releases to support her immigration story is a letter from her attorney. You might notice that the letter contains very specific dates, yet, Melania Trump has yet to release any documents that back up her story?


The attorney’s letter has very specific dates which, I presume, must be supported by some type of documentation. For example, I have a Mexican passport that has a stamp from the US government that states the date I entered the country and under what type of status. In fact, I have many such stamps and letters from the US government. All immigrants doing it the “right way” have them.

So where is Melania Trump’s documents? Why not include them since her immigration story has become controversial? Melania Trump seems to be proud of doing it the right way but has yet to produce a single document to support how she did it. An attorney letter is not proof nor an official document.

To be clear, I believe that she received her “permanent resident,” or “green card visa” properly. From there, there is no question about how she attained her US citizenship. It was not through Donald Trump, that much we know.

What we do not know is under what status her “green card” was issued under, although she has stated, through her attorney’s letter that she “self-sponsored” herself under the “extraordinary person” designation. I’ll have more about that in tomorrow’s edition.

For now, there is the simple question, why not produce the letter from the US government approving the “green card?” Or, how about the “green card” itself? For someone doing it the “right way” it should be as easy as making a copy of the letter, or asking the US government for a copy of it. I still have mine.

So why not produce it?

However, the “green card” is not the only question that should be answered.

Although we have been told, through the letter and through a talent agency owner, that Melania Trump was issued an H1-B visa, we are yet to see a copy of one, of the five she has argued that she was issued? Why is that?

Melania Trump previously stated on national television that she flew back and forth “every month” to get her passport stamped. This statement does not correspond with her lawyer’s letter that stated she was issued one-year visas. Why then, did she need to go back monthly?

This in itself is the most troubling question. For me, crossing the US-Mexico border was troublesome enough in time and effort. Now imagine having to pay for and fly back internationally every month? Doesn’t it stand to reason that it is something someone would remember more precisely? There is a huge difference between monthly and annually? If it was a misspoken statement, why did it happen. Or, was it the truth? If so, that does not correlate with the visa type her lawyer said she held. A copy of the visa issuance letter would put all of these questions to rest immediately.

There are Trump supporters that argue that her attorney, and Melania Trump have both stated that she immigrated the “right way” and thus the question has been answered and we should move on. But, has it been answered?

First, let’s look at Melania Trump’s credibility. On her website, which has since been taken down, and on the GOP convention program, Melania Trump was listed as holding a college degree. We now know that to be false. Melania Trump lied about her college degree. As for the statements of the lawyer, through the letter, all we can ascertain is a few facts created by a lawyer in the interests of his client and no official documentation to back up the assertions with. The lawyer’s job is to protect the interests of their client, not to make the determination that all was legal.

Lawyers do not establish the legality of an action; it is the courts that ultimately do that.

The reason we should be allowed to see the documents is that they clearly lay out under what status Melania Trump entered the country and what dates they were issued. These can then be compared to the public record to see if any discrepancies exist.

If Melania Trump did it the “right way” then she should be proud of the documents that attest to that, especially because she worked so hard for them and more importantly because it supports her husband’s political future.

So why is she refusing to let us see copies of her immigration documents?

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...