Foreign Influence: China Dominates U.S. Student Visas

As tensions build between the U.S. and China over the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. continues to educate hundreds of thousands of Chinese students. According to federal data, the U.S. issues more student visas to China annually than to any other nation. For fiscal year 2019, the total number of F, M, and J visas to Chinese students was about 170,000---more than the total going to Europe and Africa combined.

While the Chinese student issue is highlighted now because of the coronavirus, it is indicative of larger problems with the student visa program. "A few foreign students can be useful for education in America," says Mark Krikorian with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). "But the idea that we have hundreds of thousands, and that there is literally no limit to the number that can be admitted, is outrageous."

Krikorian and the CIS have long called for tightening up the rules on student visas. "There are no caps on the number of foreign students that can be admitted, and every foreign student is taking a place that an American student could be taking otherwise," says Krikorian.

The issue is getting some attention on Capitol Hill. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) recently called for the U.S. to reconsider its issuance of Chinese student visas at a time when we are questioning the Chinese government's role in the coronavirus pandemic. Krikorian agrees. "We are basically suckers for allowing this degree of espionage and knowledge transfer," he tells KTRH. "What we're doing is educating China's elites, whose goal it is to replace us in the is insanity."

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