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President Trump has said a lot over the years about illegal immigration. So last year when reports surfaced that his modeling agency had hired women without documents to do fashion work, it generated a lot of controversy. Now that agency is closing its doors, as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The Trump Organization said in a statement that it was shutting down its modeling operation to focus its energies on real estate and golf courses. Trump Model Management was part of the eclectic mix of businesses housed under the Trump brand name. And like other Trump businesses, it found itself pulled into the vortex of politics once Trump decided to run for president.
The liberal magazine Mother Jones did a much-discussed story last year saying that for all Trump's rhetoric about undocumented workers, some of the models hired by Trump weren't authorized to work in the United States. Here was one of them, Canadian Rachel Blais, who told CNN she began working for Trump in 2004.
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RACHEL BLAIS: I spent most of my time in New York and worked - did a lot of jobs, but I didn't have a visa until September. I didn't actually start the visa process until August.
ZARROLI: The Trump Organization denied the allegations. Mother Jones also described tough working conditions with models as young as 14 forced to live in crowded apartments. The National Organization for Women accused the company of exploiting its young models. Terri O'Neill is NOW's president.
TERRI O'NEILL: His modeling agency is shutting down. From everything I've read about how that organization operated, I say good riddance to bad rubbish.
ZARROLI: In recent months, the agency was the target of a fashion-industry boycott, and several of its top performers left. One model announced she was leaving on Instagram because she opposed Trump's politics. And a senior manager announced last month he was leaving to start his own firm called Anti Management and taking several of the agency's models with him. He said the name had nothing to do with his feelings about Trump. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.
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