White House aide Stephen Miller urged President Trump to end all student visas for Chinese nationals before the proposal was abandoned over concerns about the economic and diplomatic impact, the Financial Times reported, citing four people familiar with the deliberations.
The Financial Times said that Miller, an advocate for hard-line immigration policies, urged the president to end student visas for Chinese citizens to counter Chinese espionage. The article noted that while the discussion mostly dealt with concerns about spying, Miller also said the ban would hurt elite universities where staff and students have been critical of Trump.
While the Trump administration has not taken such a drastic step, the State Department reportedly begin implementing a new policy in June restricting visa duration for Chinese graduate students in certain high-tech fields. When questioned about the policy change, a State Department official confirmed the introduction of additional screening measures for Chinese graduate students in certain fields at a Senate subcommittee hearing.
There are more than 350,000 Chinese students studying at U.S. colleges and universities. Students from China make up the single largest group of international students in the U.S.