Advancing Justice | AAJC Condemns Senator Cotton’s Anti-Chinese Statements Against Students

Senator Cotton suggests that Chinese students should not be allowed to study in the United States
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a recent television appearance, Senator Tom Cotton suggested that Chinese students should not be allowed to study in the United States, proposing to remove visa opportunities and limit the fields of study those students can pursue. 

John C. Yang, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC president and executive director, issued the following statement in response: 

Senator Cotton’s recent remarks were rooted in profiling and xenophobia. It is unconscionable to suggest limiting the fields of study or remove visa options for all students from China. This rhetoric follows the racial profiling and racist statements made by public officials such as FBI Director Wray and President Trump.”

“We condemn Senator Cotton’s statements in which he implies that all Chinese students are spies. He is leveraging people’s fears – already heightened during this pandemic  – to target and scapegoat Chinese people and Asian Americans. This latest wave of xenophobia serves the agenda of those in the government who seek to remove America’s diversity by decreasing immigration and attacking communities of color. Cotton is seeking to turn back time to laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and subsequent racist laws that changed the demographics of America by reducing the Asian American population.”

“This kind of blanket rhetoric by public officials fuels anti-Asian and anti-Chinese sentiment and creates an unwelcoming and dangerous environment for Asian Americans and immigrants not only in universities but also in every part of our society. More than 30 percent of Americans and 60 percent of Asian Americans have witnessed someone blaming Asians for the pandemic. As the world deals with a global pandemic, we are already witnessing a rise in hate and violence against those of Asian descent due to this type of rhetoric by public officials.” 

“This rhetoric discourages the best and brightest minds from all around the world from coming to the United States and impacts not only thousands of lives, but also sets our country back in innovation and progress. Chinese students alone have contributed $12 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016. As a nation of predominantly immigrants, we must reject this rhetoric and racist policies that target Asian Americans and immigrants. We must be vigilant against hate, in all its forms, and hold public officials to a higher standard.”