BERKELEY — A California state senator is calling on the White House to release documents related to Melania Trump's immigration, as part of a broader objection to President Donald Trump's immigration policies.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, standing alongside Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in the state Capitol last week, made the call as part of a protest against Trump’s executive order calling for limiting funds to “sanctuary cities.”
An AP investigation last November found Melania Trump lacked proper work visas when she was employed as a model after arriving in the U.S. from her native Slovenia more than two decades ago.
“No one in the Trump operation has released any of the documentation to indicate what was the circumstance, or whether she had full legal status,’’ Skinner told POLITICO California in an interview this week. “We only know they had a lawyer look at whatever papers she chose to give."
Skinner noted that Trump promised last August that his wife would hold a press conference on the matter before the election, but that never occurred. Skinner called the president's response "not adequate,’’ particularly in light of policies advocated by Trump that could put hundreds of thousands of undocumented people in California under the threat of deportation.
The White House did not respond to POLITICO's request for comment on the matter.
San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the Republican National Committee, called the effort “below the belt” and “a cheap trolling tactic" that is "really beneath the dignity of these California legislators.”
Dhillon called the effort "sexist and harassing,'' saying, “I don’t think that the president’s policy positions make his wife fair game for anything.”
Immigration attorney David Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that because of Trump's immigration actions, Skinner’s move is "fair game."
He said the AP investigation, as well as previous reporting by POLITICO, have raised serious questions about whether Melania Trump "had been coming into the country to work without the proper work visas, which is fraud, if its true.”
An executive order issued by Trump last week calls for any immigrant who has committed fraud to be an enforcement priority.
Leopold said "it’s only appropriate they make his wife’s file public, so we know that his family also complied with immigration rules."
Sue Caro, the Alameda County GOP chair, was outraged by Skinner's demands. "This is a crap grandstanding posture," she tweeted.
The request came a few days before Trump issued an executive order barring refugees and some legal immigrants from entering the United States, disrupting travel around the world and leading to large-scale protests around the nation.