NOTE: The following is my response to a op-ed piece in our local paper in which the writer questions how the son of a immigrant could possibly be anti-immigration. To make his point, the writer provided a history of Mary Anne MacLeod’s immigration from Scotland to America and her early life here. For the record, MacLeod would later marry Fred Trump and give birth to Donald Trump.
I applaud Patrick Keogh for sharing the story of Donald Trump’s mother Mary Anne MacLeod’s immigration to and early life in America. Mr. Keogh is correct to point out it is the story of the parents and grandparents of an overwhelming majority of Americans, including my own grandparents who came to this country from Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, Mr. Keogh falls into the trap of mixing the myth of Donald Trump his supporters want you to believe with the reality. At the end of his essay, Mr. Keogh claims Trump only “wants folks to comply with our laws just like his Mom did.” Except of course when those laws might apply to him and his family. In the case of immigration:
- In August 1996, Melania Knavs (Trump) came to America on a B1/B2 tourist visa. In violation of the law, she immediately began working as a paid model.
- When this became known in October of the same year, Ms. Knavs applied for an H-1B visa. According to the Department of Homeland Security website, eligibility for an H-B1 visa requires the applicant have “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty.” Despite claiming to have a degree in Architecture and Design from the University of Ljubjana in Slovenia, in 2016, it was revealed she dropped out after one year. Providing false information on a visa application is a federal crime.
- Melania Knavs applied for and received an EB-1 visa in 2001. Although this particular visa is often referred to as “the Einstein visa” because of its association with Nobel prize winners and renown scientists, it is occasionally awarded to actors and models who excel in their fields. However, if Ms. Knavs again claimed to have received a college degree, she violated a federal law.
- In 2005, Melania Knavs applied for U.S. citizenship. The first question on the N-400 forms asks the applicant to affirm that he or she has “been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years.” If she checked the box after providing false information on two previous visa applications that would also constitute a violation of federal law if she then signed Part 16 of the form which certifies “under penalty of perjury” the information provided is “complete, true and correct.”
- Part 8 of the N-400 requires the applicant provide information about schools attended including dates of attendance. If the application (which has never been made available for public review) does not accurately reflect having dropped out after one year, she would again be guilty of perjury under the Part 16 signed certification.
On August 9, 2016, once discrepancies in his wife’s immigration history were revealed, Trump announced Melania would hold a news conference “over the next couple of weeks” in order to counter reports she violated immigration laws when she came to the U.S. We’re still waiting.
The double standard does not end there. Trump has called for an end of what he calls “chain migration,” by which adult American citizens obtain residency for their relatives. In November 2017, Trump tweeted, “CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!” On August 9, 2018, Donald Trump’s in-laws Viktor and Amalija Knavs became U.S. citizens in a private ceremony in Manhattan under that same family-based immigration program Trump repeatedly demands must end.
If Donald Trump wants to present himself as the “law and order president,” I suggest he replace the portrait of Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office with a needlework sampler which reads, “Compliance with the law begins at home.”
For what it’s worth.