Statement by Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA
For Immediate Release

Washington, March 15, 2018 – Today news articles reported that the administration is considering limiting the number of visas to Chinese students and scholars who study in the United States. Also reported is the administration’s consideration to end a program that allows frequent travelers to obtain visas that last 10 years. The following is a statement by Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

“Generations of foreign policy leaders agree that international students and scholars are one of America’s greatest foreign policy assets. If the administration imposes restrictions that will further prohibit students and scholars from choosing the United States as their destination, we will suffer devastating impacts for decades to come. The U.S. is already losing overall market share of internationally mobile students. Countries like Australia and Canada have worked to welcome international students, and their efforts have paid dividends. Meanwhile, America is beginning to see our international student enrollment decrease, and a threat of action like this will only exacerbate the problem. Students around the world pay close attention to the policies and rhetoric emanating from the White House. In order to avoid a further chilling effect in the United States, it is incumbent upon policy leaders to act boldly and decisively to let students know that they are welcome here and that we value their contributions.

“With international students contributing $36.9 billion to the U.S. economy last year and supporting more than 450,000 jobs, any drop in enrollment would have severe consequences. Chinese students alone contribute $12 billion, alongside countless other benefits, so even a modest reduction in Chinese enrollment would be devastating. Because Chinese students and scholars contribute so much to our science and innovation, virtually every community in America would feel the impact if Chinese student visas were restricted in any way. International students and scholars create jobs, drive research, enrich our classrooms, strengthen national security and are America’s best ambassadors and allies. Students should never be used as bargaining chips, and we cannot afford to lose this valuable resource.”

Sample Tweet: .@EstherAtNAFSA says reduction in Chinese #IntlStudents would be devastating & policymakers need to act boldly to welcome them. New @NAFSA statement responds to reports that U.S. government may limit visas to Chinese students. #YouAreWelcomeHere #IntlEd  


About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter. Resources to guide our members on these issues can be found at