On Wednesday the Supreme Court heard a case about a Serbian woman, Divna Maslenjak, who was deported after it became apparent she’d misrepresented a particular fact about her husband’s past military service on her naturalization paperwork.
President Donald Trump’s administration has supported this with orders to the Department of Homeland Security, and has therefore set a legal precedent that implies that anyone who has also made a mistake on their paperwork can and will be deported.
Ironically, this includes the First Lady.
In 1996 Melania Trump, then Knauss, earned money for modeling work in the United States while in the country on a tourist visa, an act which violated her terms of entry.
The First Lady earned $20,000 in the seven weeks prior to acquiring legal permission to work here.
Melania applied for her green card in 2001 before becoming a naturalized citizen in 2006. During that process, she failed to disclose any past indiscretions, which would include earning money without permission.
New rules brought in by Trump in March this year dictate that immigration officials at the Department of Homeland Security are required to prioritize the removal of any foreign nationals who have “engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a government agency.”
Under these rules, Melania is set to be deported since she has done exactly that.
Of course, this is only wishful thinking. The First Lady is almost certainly going to stay exactly where she is, at the top of Trump Tower costing New Yorkers $150,000 a day to keep her safe.
However, had Trump been President in the 1990s, she would likely have faced deportation according to top immigration lawyer at the Legal Aid Society, Hasan Shafiqullah, who said:
If the current executive order on interior enforcement and the related Homeland Security memoranda on interior enforcement had been in effect at that time , then she would have certainly been an enforcement priority.
New York City Immigration specialist Cheryl David agrees. Ms. David states that if Melania did indeed take on paid work while on a tourist visa, she “definitely violated her status, and if it came to immigration’s attention, yeah, they certainly could put her into removal proceedings.”
Melania’s citizenship could technically be revoked if it is discovered she willfully misrepresented or concealed facts. This is pure speculation, but it’s highly doubtful that someone simply “forgot” they earned $20,000 dollars.
However this is also not likely to happen, as in the past these extreme measures have been reserved for terrorists and war criminals who’ve acquired U.S. citizenship.
But Trump has said that immigrants who lie “have to go,” and has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to actively target people who have technically violated the rules.
This is yet another example of Trump hypocrisy, especially since regular naturalized citizens will have to face the full brunt of the law while Melania slips through the cracks like she did when she fraudulently earned that $20 grand.
This policy could still be struck down by the Supreme Court, who are deliberating on whether it was constitutional for Ms. Maslenjak to be deported. Early signs indicate that some justices are having a hard time comprehending Trump’s hardline stance on the matter.
Let’s hope they see sense and rule in favor of protecting legal immigrants everywhere from the wrath of an orange baffoon.