Did Melania Trump merit an "Einstein visa"? Probably, immigration lawyers say

Reports that the first lady, Melania Trump, received an immigrant visa reserved for “individuals with extraordinary ability” in 2001, when she was a model, have thrust the EB-1 visa program into the spotlight. The news, first reported by The Washington Post, raised questions about whether Mrs. Trump had truly qualified for the visa.

But several immigration lawyers rebuffed those questions, saying the requirements for the EB-1 immigrant visa leave far more room for interpretation than its nickname and its best-and-brightest reputation suggest.

While the program may be the pinnacle of the merit-based immigration policies supported by critics of the visa lottery and family-based migration — indeed, by President Trump himself — the decision of what constitutes merit, while based on established criteria, is ultimately subjective and often surprising.