Some thoughts at the Diplomat on the Trump/Miller visa clampdown:
Domestic political considerations drive much of the decision-making in the Trump administration. Both the Biden and Trump campaigns seem to have made hostility toward China a key aspect of their foreign policy platforms, albeit to different degrees. And in this case, much of the logic for cutting the pipeline is domestic, even though it manifests in non-economic logic. The industries which disproportionately employ Chinese students and workers are concentrated in high technology, a sector which leans left, and in states like California that do not support Trump electorally. The Trump administration has an ideological distaste for the U.S. system of higher education, which it believes is hostile to the Republican Party and the conservative movement more generally. Thus, it does not view visa restrictions that hurt the higher education industry in negative terms. Finally, it is increasingly difficult to deny that a degree of racial animus motivates the Trump administration decision-making with respect to China, and to other non-white countries.