Melania Trump denies violating US immigration laws

Melania Trump listening as her husband delivers remarks at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, June 6.
Melania Trump listening as her husband delivers remarks at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, June 6. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Melania Trump, the ex-model and third wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, denied reports Thursday (Aug 4) that questioned whether she had worked illegally as an immigrant.

It is the third controversy about her in less than three weeks that the potential first lady or the Trump campaign has been forced to address as her husband inflames the political establishment with his divisive campaign for the White House.

"There has been a lot of inaccurate reporting and misinformation concerning my immigration status back in 1996," Melania Trump said in a statement Thursday.

"Let me set the record straight: I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period," she said.

"Any allegation to the contrary is simply untrue," said Melania Trump, who became a US citizen in 2006 - a year after she married the New York billionaire.

Politico on Thursday raised questions about Melania Trump's immigration status when she first came to the United States to work as a model in the mid-1990s.

Racy photographs of her, which were published in the New York Post tabloid this week, "inadvertently highlight inconsistencies" in the various accounts she has provided over the years, Politico said.

"Immigration experts say, there's even a slim chance that any years-old misrepresentations to immigration authorities could pose legal problems for her today," the news site reported.

Trump has campaigned aggressively on a platform promising to wipe out illegal immigration to the United States.

It is the third controversy to dog the mother of one in less than three weeks.

On July 18 she delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention that plagiarised a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama - a scandal initially dismissed as "absurd" by the Trump campaign, but which they later admitted.

A Trump staffer subsequently apologised, saying she had inadvertently included phrases from Obama in the speech after Melania Trump read them out as examples of the message she wanted to convey.

Last week, Melania Trump also confirmed that her professional website had been deleted after US media questioned its claim that she had a degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.

The website had been removed "because it does not accurately reflect my current business and professional interests," she tweeted.

In recent interviews, Melania Trump herself did not claim that she had a degree, only that she had "studied" design and architecture before dropping out to pursue a modelling career in Milan and later Paris.

After the New York Post published the racy pictures this week, the Trump campaign said the images were "nothing to be embarrassed about" and "a celebration of the human body as art."