Despite using the matter of illegal immigration as the de facto cornerstone of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump continues to be haunted by his own history of business practices with regard to foreign workers. Questions abound regarding the employment in a number of areas, from property development to his resorts. On Thursday, CNN published an extensive report detailing allegations that the billionaire’s high-fashion endeavor Trump Model Management violated federal visa laws by bringing foreign models into the United States under false pretenses.
According to CNN’s report, the allegations stem from a proposed class action lawsuit filed by model Alexia Palmer, who is from Jamaica. The civil action alleges that Trump’s company “recruits foreign models with promises of wages that never materialize and defrauds the U.S. government on visa applications.” Of particular concern in the situation is the modeling agency’s use of a particular work visa called an H1-B visa. It is worth noting that Trump himself has railed against misuse of the H1-B visa during the course of his controversial presidential campaign.
Donald Trump garnered criticism several weeks ago when the New York Post reported that one of the real estate magnate’s most exclusive resort, the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, prefers to employ foreign workers over Americans. As previously noted by Inquisitr, officials affiliated with the resort have pursued 500 work visas for foreign workers since 2010, while hiring less than 20 Americans for comparable openings.
The candidate has also been assailed over the use of undocumented immigrant workers to clear land for his iconic Trump Tower in New York during the 1980s. As recalled by the Daily Beast, the so-called “Polish Brigade” was comprised of demolition workers from Poland, some of whom ultimately sued Donald Trump and his associates, alleging that they received low wages and were subject to intimidation and unreasonable expectations during their employment. A court initially ruled against Trump, and during the appeals process, a settlement was reached.
In the present matter, it is not known how far the suit filed by Palmer and her attorneys will progress, but the case has not been formally approved as a class action suit. CNN asked a group of attorneys and legal experts to review the aforementioned claims, and most agreed that Trump Model Management has violated federal law via its practices. Of particular note is Palmer’s allegation that she received less than $5,000 of the $75,000 promised to her by the agency.
“It seems pretty clear to me that there was a violation… and a pretty egregious violation,” immigration attorney Jeffrey Feinbloom told CNN.
Donald Trump’s modeling company is not his only foray into the realm of beauty and high fashion. In January, Vanity Fair noted that Trump has either owned or co-owned three big-name beauty pageants, Miss U.S.A., Miss Teen U.S.A., and Miss Universe. All three endeavors fell under the umbrella of the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump sold in 2015 in the wake of the controversy surrounding his campaign trail assertions about illegal immigrants entering the United States.
Trump’s third and current wife, Melania, is herself a model, having appeared on the covers of magazines including Vogue and New York Magazine, according to her official site. Born in Romania, Melania married Donald Trump in 2005.
[Photo by Katy Winn/Getty Images]