President Donald Trump’s administration issued a proclamation May 29 suspending entry of certain international students from China seeking a visa for graduate and postgraduate study in the United States.
The proclamation applies to students who are employed or who conduct research for entities with ties to China’s “military-civil fusion strategy,” which is the acquisition and diversion of military technology for the country’s advancement, according to the proclamation. UC Office of the President spokesperson Stett Holbrook said, in the broadest sense, the proclamation could potentially ban all science, technology, engineering and math Chinese graduate students.
The Trump administration was contacted for comment, but its press office is temporarily closed as of press time.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to determine how many of our Chinese international students will be affected by the president’s executive action,” Holbrook said in an email.
Director of the Berkeley International Office Ivor Emmanuel said his office informed Chinese students about the proclamation.
Fall admissions should not be impacted, and the proclamation likely will not have an effect on international students given other restrictive circumstances, according to Emmanuel.
“(The international students) are naturally upset and anxious about the proclamation,” Emmanuel said in an email. “Students would want to know if ther are covered by the proclamation as this would impact their future travel plans.”
According to Chinese citizen and campus graduate student Will Yang, international Chinese students already go through extensive background checks and must reapply for new visas every time they reenter the United States, which many will be unable to do under the proclamation.
Chinese graduate student Dylan Pan shared similar concerns to Yang about the proclamation, adding that the means of its implementation are unclear.
“This is a serious identity-based accusation implied by the proclamation made against such a big group of students from one certain nation but with no evidence at all,” Pan alleged in an email.
Both Pan and Yang are raising awareness by writing to unions and UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ about the situation and looking for more ways to take action.
ASUC Senator-elect Samuel Peng, 16 other incoming ASUC senators and five Graduate Assembly officials released a statement urging the campus community to stand with the international community.
“This proclamation will also further decrease international student enrollment at UC Berkeley and other institutions across the United States,” Peng said in an email.
According to ASUC Senator-elect Rex Zhang, the student government officials’ statement condemns the “xenophobic rhetorics” that they allege the proclamation implies, as he said a majority of international students are working toward their futures, not to bolster the Chinese military.
The statement also called for the UC system to support international students who are affected in an effort to preserve each campus’s diverse communities, Zhang added.
“International community is an important part of the campus community. I hope people would stand in solidarity with us as allies, and advocate for us,” Zhang said in an email. “Together we are stronger.”
Contact Shylie Ati and Veronica Roseborough at [email protected].