Donald Trump may be hellbent on keeping immigrants out of America, but his old modeling agency, Trump Model Management, appears to have profited from skirting national immigration law.
According to a new report from Mother Jones, three foreign models who came to the United States to work for the company claim that they not only worked illegally for the agency on tourist visas but also faced sweatshop-like conditions and, in some instances, were encouraged to lie to immigration services.
A model the magazine gave the pseudonym Anna said the agency told her, "If [immigration officials] ask you any questions, you're just here for meetings."
A financial statement given to the magazine by Canadian-born model Rachel Blais shows she was employed at the agency for some six months before the company got her a work visa. She further claimed she was billed $1,600 [€1,430] just to have a bunk in a cramped three-bedroom apartment in the East Village, which was used to house many of the agency's models.
"It is like modern-day slavery," Blais said. "Honestly, they are the most crooked agency I've ever worked for, and I've worked for quite a few."
The arrangement bears a resemblance to the one Trump's wife, Melania, has been accused of using back in the 90s when she first came to work in the US. Lady Trump has refuted reports she worked in the country illegally, after a nude photo shoot suggested she was working in the country a year before she said she arrived. "I have at all times been in full compliance with the immigration laws of this country. Period," she tweeted.
Meanwhile, Trump Modeling Management did not respond to emails and phone calls from Mother Jones requesting comment on its story.