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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

Melania and Isabelle: a tale of two immigrants

Did the first lady qualify for the EB-1 “extraordinary ability” visa she got?

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, to the White House on Monday. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / MANDEL NGAN

The EB-1 visa program allows immigrants who’ve achieved greatness in their fields to live permanently in the United States. Nicknamed the “Einstein visa,” it is reserved for a special few with “extraordinary ability.”

Immigration expert Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute said that only the top 2 percent of people in their fields qualify, telling The Washington Post that the “quintessential award you want to put on the application is Nobel Prize.”

Melania Knauss didn’t earn one of those, but in 1998 she snagged a famous boyfriend. She met Donald Trump at a party and they began dating. Two years later, Knauss was featured on the cover of British GQ, photographed nude on a fur rug on Trump’s private jet.

Did the former Slovenian model, now first lady Melania Trump, qualify for the EB-1 “extraordinary ability” visa she got?

Then what about Isabelle Muhlbauer of Jackson Heights? Muhlbauer is a Dreamer, an immigrant who was brought here illegally and who attended Baruch College. She was an intern at Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office of veterans affairs casework.

She now work as a paralegal in the Veterans Assistance Project in the New York Legal Assistance Group, Muhlbauer told The New York Times. “I have the opportunity to work with a team that is committed to helping the low-income veteran population in NYC get access to the benefits they earned through their service.”

That is, if Muhlbauer isn’t deported. “I had hoped to attend law school to further advance my career in public interest law, but given the current uncertainty of what will happen with DACA, it’s become increasingly difficult to plan for the future,” she said.

The Supreme Court declined a request last week to immediately decide whether the Trump administration can end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects some 700,000 Dreamers from deportation. It gives Muhlbauer and thousands of other law-abiding people like her breathing room until Congress or the courts act to make the Dreamers’ status legal — or not.

Meanwhile, with a green card, Melania Trump was in position to petition for her parents, who, according to The Post, are obtaining U.S. citizenship under what her husband disparages as “chain migration.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.

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