The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

The Trump administration may be considering visa restrictions for Chinese students

President Donald Trump spoke in the Greensboro Coliseum in June of 2016. 

President Donald Trump spoke in the Greensboro Coliseum in June of 2016.

The Trump administration is considering restricting the visas of visiting Chinese students, two White House officials reportedly told Politico. The White House did not confirm or deny the existence of the proposal.

“We have seen the media reports, but do not have any information to share,” the White House Press Office said in email. 

During the 2016-17 school year, there were over 1,078,000 international students in the U.S., the Institute of International Education found. Over 350,700 of these were from China, the highest total from a single country, with India’s over 186,000 students coming in second. China’s student population in the U.S. increased to 32 percent of the country's total international student community, a 6.8 percent growth from the previous school year.

The National Association for Foreign Student Advisers found international students studying in the United States contributed $36.9 billion and supported more than 450,000 jobs in the U.S. economy.

NAFSA data shows that in North Carolina’s fourth congressional district, over 7,700 enrolled international students contributed $206.9 million and supported almost 3,000 jobs. International students who attended UNC contributed $69.1 million and supported over 1,000 jobs.

Esther Brimmer, the executive director and CEO of NAFSA, said in a March 15 press release that in the past people have agreed that international students and scholars are one of America’s greatest foreign policy assets.

“If the (Trump) administration imposes restrictions that will further prohibit students and scholars from choosing the United States as their destination, we will suffer devastating impacts for decades to come,” she said.

Brimmer said the United States is beginning to see a decrease in international student enrollment from certain nations. The IIE noted South Korea’s percentage dropped 3.8 percent, Saudi Arabia 14.2 percent and Brazil 32.4 percent from the 2015-16 academic year to the 2016-17 academic year.

“In order to avoid a further chilling effect in the United States, it is incumbent upon policy leaders to act boldly and decisively to let students know they are welcome here and that we value their contributions,” she said. 

Brimmer said Chinese students alone contributed $12 billion to the economy, along with other benefits, and that even a modest reduction in Chinese enrollment would be devastating, with virtually every community feeling the impact.

“International students and scholars create jobs, drive research, enrich our classrooms, strengthen national security and are America’s best ambassadors and allies,” she said. “Students should never be used as bargaining chips, and we cannot afford to lose this valuable resource.”

This potential proposal would join with the proposed tariffs the White House announced in a Thursday press release. The proposed 25 percent additional tariffs on certain products will go to public comment before being drafted into legislation, which the president has said will benefit American workers.

“Under my administration, the theft of American prosperity will end,” Trump said. “We’re going to defend our industry and create a level playing field for the American worker – finally.”


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.