In 1996, Ms Trump—then Knauss—was paid for modelling work undertaken in the United States while travelling on a visitor—or tourist—visa, violating the terms of entry, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
The first lady allegedly earned more than $20,000 (£16,000) in the seven weeks before she acquired legal permission to work in the country.
She went on to apply for a green card in 2001 and became a naturalised US citizen in 2006 without disclosing any past indiscretions.
Under new rules brought in by Mr Trump last month, immigration officials are now required to prioritise the removal of any foreign national who has “engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a government agency”.
Ms Trump put herself into this category when she violated her visa and did not disclose the indiscretion when applying for future travel and residency permits, a pair of immigration lawyers told the
She would likely have faced deportation under Mr Trump's 25 January executive order if it had been in effect and she had been caught in the 1990s, or in fact at any point before becoming a naturalised US citizen in 2005.
Hasan Shafiqullah, deputy attorney in charge of the immigration law unit at the Legal Aid Society, said Ms Trump would have been at serious risk of deportation if caught in the 90s by a time-travelling Trump administration.
“If the current executive order on interior enforcement and the related Homeland Security memoranda on interior enforcement had been in effect at that time , then she would have certainly been an enforcement priority,” he added.
New York City immigration specialist Cheryl David agreed.