India monitoring detention of students in United States university case

Over 100 students arrested in US immigration fraud attorneys cry foul

‘Pay-and-stay’ US visa scam: Indian embassy opens 24x7 helpline for 129 arrested students, appoints nodal...

Eight Indians who were allegedly involved in the scam now have been placed in "removal proceedings" and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has told WION that it will "seek to maintain them in its custody pending the outcome of those proceedings". The two numbers 202-322-1190 and 202-340-2590 would be manned by senior embassy officials round the clock, officials said.

Lawyers have argued numerous students enrolled believing the university was legal.

The Indian Embassy in Washington has also opened a round-the-clock helpline for assistance and queries related to detention of Indian students by the USA authorities, an External Affairs Ministry release said on Saturday.

A federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had set up a fake school, the University of Farmington, in Farmington Hills, Michigan, to catch people violating the terms of their visas.

Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. has set up a 24/7 helpline for providing assistance and answering queries pertaining to the detention of Indian students.

Indian authorities say students could have been tricked into enrolling and should be treated differently to any recruiters who may have duped them.

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As many as 130 students were arrested by the U.S. authorities Wednesday for overstaying their visa in the US.

According to ICE, between February 2017 and January 2019, the defendants, a group of foreign citizens, conspired with each other and others to facilitate hundreds of foreign nationals in illegally remaining and working in the U.S. by actively recruiting them to enroll into a metro Detroit private university that, unbeknownst to the conspirators, was operated by HSI special agents as part of an undercover operation.

A similar step was taken in 2011 when dozens of Indian students were detained for being enrolled in the sham "Tri-Valley University" in Pleasanton, California.

The US embassy spokesperson confirmed the receipt of the demarche.

Sushma Swaraj and her team at the Ministry of External Affairs have been giving top priority to the arrested students.

It goes on to allege that each student knew the university's programmes were not approved by Homeland Security and that it was illegal.

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Adding that the "weight of the government of India" is behind the detained students, Mr Shringla said that the embassy officials have been travelling across the United States and meeting students at the detention centres since the matter was first reported.

The Indian Embassy here and its consulates are in touch with student organisation and offered help.

Members of the ATA met the Indian Ambassador Harshvardhan Shingla and the Consul General in Atlanta Swati Vijay Kulkarni and briefed them on the ongoing issues and remediation efforts, the post added.

The government, MEA said, continues to closely monitor and take proactive measures to address the situation arising out of detention of Indian students.

The website of the fake university has been closed by government officials. It held no classes and collected a nominal fee from students and gave them "curricular practical training" after their enrolment, providing temporary authorisation for practical training related to their study or to work.

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