The foundation of Donald Trump’s campaign was to rail against unauthorized immigrants. But James West of Mother Jones reports that Trump cared much less about proper paperwork for employees of his modeling agency, Trump Model Management, where three former models said they and their peers came to the United States on visas. tourists and worked illegally.
Either the models started working while on a tourist visa and had not yet been approved for a visa to work – which is illegal – or they never had a tourist visa. work :
Each of Trump’s three former models said they arrived in New York with dreams of succeeding in one of the world’s most competitive fashion markets. But without a work visa, they lived in constant fear of getting caught.
West’s sources make it clear that this is fairly common practice in the modeling industry. The same goes for some of the other unsavory stories about Trump Model Management, including charging exorbitant rates for dorm-style rooms that eat up almost all of the models’ income.
Trump not only strongly criticized illegal immigrants, but also proposed criminal penalties for people who overstay their visas and incentives for companies to hire American-born workers.
The question is whether Trump voters — who claim to care deeply about immigration — really care about the models, many of whom are white and European, working on tourist visas. Similar revelations that Melania Trump, Trump’s wife, could have been working on a tourist visa during her own days as a model have not caused much concern on the right.
That’s because Trump supporters aren’t always as concerned about the legal status of immigrants as they are about whether those immigrants fit into American culture. As Dara Lind and Matt Yglesias wrote of the research on people who believe in restricting immigration:
A large portion of white Americans…don’t care about legal status at all. Their assessment of immigrants focused on other factors. In his experiment asking whether a given immigrant should stay or go, an unauthorized Christian immigrant fared better than a legal Muslim. An unauthorized immigrant from France fared better than a legal immigrant from Mexico, but an unauthorized immigrant from Mexico fared better than a legal immigrant from Somalia.
Of the three models featured in the Mother Jones story, one eventually got a work visa, while two left the country. It looks like Trump’s modeling agency definitely broke the rules. But it’s not the kind of violation that many Trump supporters really worry about.