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Politics

If Trump were an immigrant, he'd probably be deported

Catherine Rampell on

WASHINGTON -- How might President Trump fare in the "merit-based" immigration scheme he just endorsed?

If he were an immigrant, there's a decent chance he'd get kicked out of the country.

The economy-crippling bill that Trump embraced this week includes much to dislike. It would cut legal immigration levels in half, flouting Trump's prior pledges not to reduce legal immigration or be unfair to those who've patiently waited in line -- some for years.

Despite what he and the bill's Senate sponsors suggest, it also wouldn't increase the number of skilled or merit-based immigrants. Instead, it would change how "skills" and "merit" are defined, replacing our current employer-centered system with a points-based one -- and then scaling back eligibility for almost everyone else.

For insight into how thoughtfully designed this new system is, let's try a high-profile test case: the leader of the free world.

Under the bill, points would be awarded for age, education, extraordinary achievement, English-language proficiency, entrepreneurial initiative and having a high-paying job offer. There's also a tiny bonus for those already scheduled to receive a green card under the old system's family preference category. The top score available is 90, by my tally. (There's some ambiguity about the scoring.)

Here's how Trump -- or at least, a foreign national with roughly his qualifications -- would do.

Age: zero points. People older than 51 don't earn points. Trump is 71. The best ages to be under this system, by the way, are 26 to 30. (Darn millennials.)

Education: 6. Trump has a bachelor's degree from a U.S. university.

Record of extraordinary achievement: zero. Trump may have starred in a network reality show and (allegedly) sunk 30-foot putts, but what counts as "extraordinary achievement" is limited to two categories.

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