The foundation of Donald Trump’s campaign was railing against unauthorized immigrants.But Mother Jones’s James West reports that Trump cared a lot less about the proper papers for employees at his modeling agency, Trump Model Management, where three former models said they and their peers came to the US on tourist visas and worked illegally.
The models either started working while they were on a tourist visa and hadn’t yet been approved for a visa that would permit them to work — which is illegal — or they never had a work visa at all:
Each of the three former Trump models said she arrived in New York with dreams of making it big in one of the world's most competitive fashion markets. But without work visas, they lived in constant fear of getting caught.
West’s sources make clear that this is pretty standard practice in the modeling industry. So are some of the other unsavory stories about Trump Model Management, including charging exorbitant rates for dormitory-like rooms that eat up nearly all of the models’ earnings.
Trump hasn’t just strongly criticized illegal immigrants but has also proposed criminal penalties for people who overstay their visas and incentives for companies to hire American-born workers.
The question is whether Trump’s voters — who profess to care deeply about immigration — really care about models, many of them white and European, working on tourist visas. Similar revelations that Melania Trump, Trump’s wife, may have worked on a tourist visa during her own days as a model failed to stir up much concern on the right.