First lady Melania Trump reportedly got a green card through a program specifically for people with “extraordinary ability.”
The first lady in 2001 was given a green card through the elite EB-1 program, The Washington Post reported.
The EB-1 program is reserved for people such as academic researchers and multinational business executives, as well as people who have shown “sustained national and international acclaim,” the Post noted
“We called it the Einstein visa,” former Rep. Bruce Morrison (D-Conn.), at the time the chairman of the House subcommittee that wrote the Immigration Act of 1990 defining EB-1, told the newspaper.
The first lady was dating Donald Trump when she received her green card. The former model had been featured in runway shows in Europe and had been included in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.
The Post reported that Melania Trump — who came to the U.S. from Slovenia in 1996 — was one of five people from Slovenia to get green cards in 2001 through the program.
According to government statistics, only 3,376 of the more than 1 million green cards issued in 2001 were for immigrants who had “extraordinary ability.”
Michael Wildes, an attorney for Trump, told the Post the first lady was “more than amply qualified and solidly eligible” for the EB-1 program.
To obtain a green card for extraordinary ability, one needs to prove they have qualifications such as evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts or evidence of original contributions to a field.
“What did she submit?” David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, asked, according to the newspaper. “There are a lot of questions about how she procured entry into the United States.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents of the U.S. on the cusp of obtaining citizenship.
That report came amid swirling speculation that her parents were given legal status based on family reunification, also called “chain migration” by detractors, which President Trump has repeatedly called on Congress to end.
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