The U.S. is reportedly taking action to expel Chinese graduate students over national security concerns.
The initiative has been in the works for several months, but received new life after China imposed national security restrictions on Hong Kong, according to the New York Times. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed China’s “disastrous decision” undermines “Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and China’s own promises to the Hong Kong people.” (RELATED: Pompeo Declares Hong Kong ‘No Longer Autonomous From China’ After Communist Crackdown)
Pompeo reportedly discussed the visa cancellations with White House officials Tuesday. The move is estimated to result in the expulsion of at least 3,000 students, all with reported direct ties to the Communist Party of China. In total, there are roughly 360,000 Chinese students enrolled in the American university system.
A senior State Department official declined to comment directly on the details of NYT’s reporting but added the decision is up to the White House at this point.
Congressional lawmakers have also crafted legislation that would block Chinese graduate or post-graduate students from receiving visas to study in America’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs. Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee announced the SECURE CAMPUS Act on Wednesday.
“The Chinese Communist Party has long used American universities to conduct espionage on the United States. What’s worse is that their efforts exploit gaps in current law,” Cotton said of the bill. “It’s time for that to end. The SECURE CAMPUS Act will protect our national security and maintain the integrity of the American research enterprise.”
“Beijing exploits student and research visas to steal science, technology, engineering and manufacturing secrets from U.S. academic and research institutions,” Blackburn added. “We’ve fed China’s innovation drought with American ingenuity and taxpayer dollars for too long; it’s time to secure the U.S. research enterprise against the CCP’s economic espionage.”
Republican Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff is expected to enter companion legislation in the House.
The White House and National Security Council did not immediately respond to Daily Caller’s requests for comment on the report.