Indian students arrested in USA

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

The External Affairs Ministry (EAM) said India continues to closely monitor and take proactive measures to address the situation arising out of the detention of several Indian students in connection with their enrolment in a "fraudulent university in the US".

About 130 foreign students, majority Indians, were rounded up after enrolling at the University of Farmington, in what prosecutors claim was a case of "pay-to-stay" immigration fraud.

They said the manner in which the students were enrolled at the fake university, created by ICE to lure students allegedly trying to remain in the U.S., amounted to "entrapment".

An official protest has been lodged by India after undercover agents in the United States set up a fake university as part of a sting to snare illegal immigrants. It said it was trying to help the affected students and had met Indian consular officials in the USA about the case. The students had immigrated legally to the USA on student visas and had transferred to the University of Farmington so they could work, said attorneys.

The University of Farmington describes itself on its website as a real university, but was fake, according to indictments unsealed on January 30, 2019.

ICE agents launched a fake university at Farmington Hills in MI as a part of Operation "Paper Chase" to take down immigration violators and recruiters.

The ministry said a 24/7 helpline has been established in the Indian Embassy in Washington for assistance/queries related to the detention of Indian students. "Special agents from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations arrested eight on criminal charges as part of an investigation into potential abuses of the United States student visa system", the official said. From their names it appears that all of them are either Indian nationals or Indian-Americans.




"We are all aware that worldwide students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended global student visa program can also be exploited and abused", U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider, who is looking into the case, said earlier this week.

The association, according to Detroit Free Press, confirmed that about 100 students had been arrested and others were facing arrest warrants.

"There are specific universities who have advanced degree programmes that primarily involved practical training from day one that allows them to enroll and the bulk of the time is spent working", Sofo said.

Diplomats from India's mission in Washington as well as consulates visited several detention centres in the United States to extend consular assistance to the detained students, the statement said. Prior to this, this student from Telangana was detained for over 14 hours.

In a precedent to the latest sting, immigration agents set up the fake University of Northern New Jersey in 2016 under the Obama administration.

This is the second such case when Department of Homeland Security has used a fake university to unearth a fake student visa racket.

In order to study in the USA, students must get certain types of visas and approval from universities authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.

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