Melania Trump, former model and wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, was illegally working in the US before receiving work permit, records accessed by the Associated Press have shown.
While Melania has always maintained that she worked legally in the US, the documents revealed that she was paid for 10 modelling jobs seven weeks before receiving legal permission to work. The revelation can be a blow to the Trump campaign as Donald had always demanded stricter immigration laws.
The revelation comes days before the election and after Melania spoke about her time working in the US.
"As a young entrepreneur, I wanted to follow my dream to a place where freedom and opportunity were in abundance. So of course, I came here," she said. "Living and working in America was a true blessing, but I wanted something more. I wanted to be an American."
Melania had said that she first came to the US from Slovenia on August 27 1996, on a B1/B2 visitor visa and later obtained an H-1B work visa on October 18 1996. She was reportedly paid for 10 modelling jobs between September 10 and October 15, during which she was only allowed to look for work. And, she would be considered illegally employed during the period. She would be considered flouting US immigration rules, about which her husband has taken a hard line.
The AP accessed ledgers, other accounting documents and a management agreement signed by Melania Trump from Metropolitan International Management dated between 1996 and 1997. The company is now defunct.
Foreigners in the US are not permitted to work on a visitor's visa for US companies. It can lead to barring the person from entering the US or changing their immigration status.
The battle for the presidential position is an on-going tough fight between the two candidates with mud-slinging from both ends. Polls have indicated that Hillary Clinton is leading, though only marginally. The US presidential election date is November 8.