Days after India issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi, the US State Department has said that more than 100 Indian students who were detained for enrolling in a fake university were aware that they were committing a crime to fraudulently remain in the US.
The US Department of Homeland Security, last week, had arrested foreign students for enrolling at the University of Farmington allegedly to remain in America. The fake university was set up by the DHS’s investigating unit in Greater Detroit area to bust the “pay-and-stay” racket.
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On Monday, a State Department spokesperson said in a statement “All participants in this scheme knew that the University of Farmington had no instructors or classes and were aware they were committing a crime in an attempt to fraudulently remain in the United States”.
Expressing concern over the detention of Indian students and soughing immediate consular access to them, India issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi on Saturday. The External Affairs Ministry said India continued to closely monitor the situation arising out of the mass detention. Eight of the individuals who ran this racket have been arrested and are either Indian citizens or Indian American.
The fake university with a low tuition fee had no classes and gave work permits to some 600 students- majority of them Indians. The actual number of those detained is much higher.
The Indian Embassy in Washington has made an aggressive effort to reach out to these students and is providing them with legal help.
“It is unfortunate that some student recruiters and individuals seek to use the international student programme to foster illegal immigration status in the United States,” the State Department said.
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Overseas Friends of BJP USA, in a statement, said that it was shocked to learn that 129 students of Indian-origin were arrested by the ICE, with about 600 students’ fate in jeopardy.
North America Telugu Association said “It is very unfortunate that several students are affected by this University and majority are Telugu students.”
The Indian embassy in the US has also opened a 24/7 hotline to assist 129 Indian students. It has appointed a nodal officer to help the students in distress.