Earlier this year, immigration hardliners in the White House tried to persuade President Donald Trump to stop giving student U.S. visas to Chinese nationals. But it has been revealed that concerns over the diplomatic and economic impact of such a move caused the proposal to be scrapped.
According to insiders, White House aide, Stephen Miller, one of the principals behind the hardline immigration policies developed by the Trump administration, pushed officials and the President to ban Chinese students from being able to study in the US for national security reasons. The debate intensified in December 2017 following the release of the White House’s national security strategy, which said it would review the procedures surrounding US visas and consider putting restrictions on overseas students in scientific fields.
The issue came to a head in the spring with the US ambassador to China, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and other opponents squaring off against Miller and convincing the President that the proposal was too draconian. Officials from the US embassy in Beijing argued against the proposal for economic reasons, saying that the majority of US states enjoy trade surpluses with China in the service-sector partly because of the amount Chinese students spend.
Sarah Sanders, the press secretary for the White House, said that the US government had presidential agency and White House principles agreement on the final decision, which also had the support of relevant stakeholders. But some officials are continuing to try to push Trump to take a harder stance on the issue.