Every time I hear that President Trump is talking about immigrants, I wonder what cruel language he has come up with to describe us — “rapists,” “drug dealers,” “invaders.” But now Mr. Trump is talking immigration again, and this time, he is making some sense.

In fact, the president has laid out a trap for liberals to fall into.

The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s proposal is a promise to move the United States away from a system that favors family sponsorship toward one that favors “merit” or skills-based immigration. Whether judged according to merit or family ties, immigrants are already better educated than their native-born counterparts. So if Mr. Trump wants to shift the debate to skills, liberals should take him up on his offer.

Unlike his previous proposals, this one would not reduce the total number of immigrants allowed in. This might feel like a minor victory, but it drastically undercuts the far-right fantasy of shutting America’s borders.