FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James Arnold or Mary Collins Atkinson (202) 224-2353
April 22, 2021

 

Cotton, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Restrict Chinese Stem Graduate Student Visas

Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) introduced the SECURE CAMPUS Act, legislation that would secure American research from Chinese Communist Party espionage and influence. Bill text may be found here.

The bill would prohibit Chinese nationals from receiving visas to the United States for graduate or post-graduate studies in STEM fields and would ban participants in China’s foreign talent recruitment programs and Chinese nationals from taking part in federally-funded STEM research, along with other much-needed reforms.

Congressman David Kustoff (R-Tennessee) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Allowing China unfettered access to American research institutions is akin to granting Soviet scientists access to our critical laboratories during the Cold War. We shouldn’t allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit the openness of American research institutions any longer. The SECURE CAMPUS Act will help stop Chinese nationals from stealing U.S. technology, which the CCP uses against our own troops and businesses,” said Cotton.

“Beijing is engaged in a complex influence operation against the United States. The Chinese Communist Party often sends its members to elite American universities where they gain highly sensitive skillsets, then return to China and use this knowledge to help the Chinese government. Our legislation will help secure American innovation by curtailing Beijing’s influence operations and preventing the CCP from utilizing the U.S. education system against us,” said Blackburn.

“China steals our intellectual property, seeks to destabilize our economy, and threatens our national security. The Chinese Communist Party is no friend of the American people. It makes sense to protect our tax-payer funded STEM research grants and secure our research enterprise. If the Biden Administration is serious about countering threats of Chinese aggression, this legislation is absolutely necessary,” said Tuberville.

“The SECURE CAMPUS Act will protect our national security from the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to exploit and steal our cutting-edge research and technology from inside our American universities. It is time we put an end to China’s abuse and ensure our intellectual property remains secured. I am proud to re-introduce this legislation with Senator Cotton," said Kustoff.

Background:

  • Bars Chinese nationals from receiving student or research visas to the United States for graduate or post-graduate studies in STEM fields.
  • U.S. institutions of higher education must annually certify their compliance with these STEM study restrictions in order to be approved for participation in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
  • Prohibits Chinese nationals and participants in China’s foreign talent recruitment programs from receiving federal R&D grants in STEM fields or from being employed to carry out activities funded by those grants. 
  • Mandates that participants in China’s foreign talent recruitment programs register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). 
  • Expands the definition of “economic espionage” under U.S. Code (18 USC 1839) to more accurately reflect the range of institutions that the CCP uses to conduct economic espionage against the United States. 
  • Mandates that the Secretary of State, in consultation with others, develop and publish a list of China’s foreign talent recruitment programs within 180 days.

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