Donald Trump has been accused of treating a 17-year-old like a ‘slave’ after bringing her to the U.S on a visa he claims is widely abused.
Alexa Palmer claims immigration documents completed by a modelling agency owned by Donald Trump said she would earn $75,000 a year, but in fact she took away less than $5,000 in three years.
The Jamaican national is now suing the Trump Model Management, alleging she was not treated in line with the promises the firm initially made.
The Trump subsidiary had the First Lady, Melania, signed to it before they couple married.
In a declaration of his finances published shortly after he declared he was running, Trump said the agency brought in between $1 million and $5 million each year.
However Palmer told ABC News’s GMA that she had been exploited by the Trump’s firm.
It took 80 per cent of her earnings in fees and expenses, leaving her with earnings in three years of $3,880 and $1,100 in cash advances, she said.
‘That’s what slavery people do,’ she said. ‘You work and don’t get no money.’
It is however the visa arrangements which allowed her to come to the U.S. as a Trump model which is likely to prove controversial.
She was allowed into the country on an H-1B, a visa for foreign workers which ties them to staying with the same company, and sets a minimum wage for them which is intended to prevent them being used to undercut American labor.
Palmer says her visa documents said she would work ‘full-time’ and earn $75,000 a year.
But that did not happen as she did not work full time, and was not actually employed by the Trump agency – raising questions over the visa being issued.
‘I’d say that somebody’s got some explaining to do,’ Robert Divine, a former chief counsel to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency told ABC News.
‘It would be extraordinarily unusual for that to be legal.’
Palmer’s lawyer, Naresh Gehi, says his client was cheated of earnings and seduced by a life of glamour that never materialized.
‘The visa application the company filed with the government requires that people are paid the full amount,’ Gehi said. ‘It’s a requirement.’
Trump’s attorney, Alan Garten, disputed Palmer’s claim and said: ‘Anything she’s saying about being treated as a slave is completely untrue. The greater demand for the model, the better that model does.