Trump considered halting student visas for Chinese nationals: report

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and other aides earlier this year encouraged President Trump to stop making visas available to Chinese nationals, according to the Financial Times.

The White House didn’t move forward with the proposal, however, because of concerns about its economic and diplomatic impacts, the outlet reported.

{mosads}Miller, one of the key architects of Trump’s hardline immigration policies, reportedly told the president that his plan to stop providing visas to Chinese citizens would hurt universities whose faculty and students had been critical of Trump. 

But other administration officials, including U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, reportedly opposed Miller’s plan. According to the Financial Times, Branstad said Miller’s plan was too harsh and would have a greater impact on smaller colleges than it would on elite universities.

The White House and a spokesperson for Branstad declined to comment to the Times.

Other officials reportedly also argued that the visas benefit the U.S. economically citing domestic spending by Chinese students in the U.S. More than 350,000 Chinese nationals attended U.S. higher education institutions during the 2016-17 school year, according to the Institute for International Education, making the country the largest source of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities. 

Still, some White House officials have continued to push for a harder stance on the visas, according to the outlet. 

The Trump administration earlier this year announced it would impose limitations on some visas given to Chinese students, specifically those studying fields like robotics, aviation and high-technology manufacturing.

In its announcement of the limitations, the White House said the changes were part of a national security strategy meant to prevent U.S. intellectual property from being transferred to competitors, though a spokesperson declined to offer specifics.

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