The Cancellation Of Chinese Student Visas Has Troubling Implications
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The Cancellation Of Chinese Student Visas Has Troubling Implications

The implication that nationality can be a factor in barring the entry of Chinese students is a concern for both immigrants and Asian American citizens.

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The Cancellation Of Chinese Student Visas Has Troubling Implications

This month, the US government confirmed that it revoked over 1,000 visas of Chinese international students. The cancellation of these visas comes after the Trump administration implemented a plan to expel "high-risk" Chinese international students, mainly graduate students and researchers, on suspicion of espionage and stealing research. While 1,000 visas may be seen as only a small portion of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals who study in the US, the cancellation of these visas has troubling implications for both Chinese immigrants in the US as well as other Asian Americans.

The expulsion of these Chinese students is part of a long-running effort on the part of the Trump administration to shift blame for the COVID-19 pandemic to China and heighten anti-China sentiments. While Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers insist that they are only directing their language and rhetoric towards the CCP and not Chinese or Asian people, their words still have the impact of exacerbating anti-Asian racism during the pandemic. A recent study shows that the use of the term "China virus" by President Trump, other lawmakers, and media outlets has, in fact, contributed to a rise in anti-Asian racism.

The cancellation of these students' visas can be particularly damaging to the view and treatment of Asians in the United States. Earlier this month, a Chinese international student at Rice University returned to her apartment to find the word "spy" written across her apartment door. The incident occurred days after the cancellation of Chinese student visas -- the timing was likely not coincidental. Incidents like these are concerning: like COVID-19 racism, it is not unlikely that these views of Chinese nationals as "spies" or "threats" would spread to other East or Southeast Asian groups in the United States. Seeing Chinese students being expelled or denied entry can also have the effect of perpetuating the perpetual foreigner stereotype, causing Asian Americans to constantly be perceived as foreigners rather than Americans.

The treatment of Chinese international students is also concerning in terms of immigration. The criteria under which a Chinese student would be deemed a threat to national security are unclear and undefined. Yes, the administration has stated that they will still "welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party's goals of military dominance," but it is not completely clear how immigration authorities might determine who falls into the "safe" category and who does not. What, exactly, is the evidence behind these students being deemed "threats"? Where is the line between those who are "threats" and those who are not? The specific targeting of students from China is also concerning in that it does use nationality as a factor in excluding certain immigrants. Some have said that the visa cancellations call back to the Chinese Exclusion Era, and they are not completely wrong -- while not nearly as severe, the barring of international students of a specific nationality is, in this way, precedented. The implication that nationality can be a factor in barring the entry of Chinese students, while defended as a national security measure, is absolutely a concern for both immigrants and Asian American citizens, as this exclusion both calls on and exacerbates some level of xenophobia.

The cancellation of Chinese student visas is troubling in its potential to exacerbate anti-Asian racism as well as its possible effects on future international students and immigrants. A lack of clarity of the criteria of "threats to national security" as well as the open expulsion of Chinese students partially due to their nationality can affect both Chinese immigrants and citizens, as well as Asian Americans as a whole. The future of this policy on Chinese international students as well as its potential impacts on Asian immigrants and citizens is cause for concern for all Asian Americans, especially during a time where anti-Asian racism is already rising.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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