Indian students held in sting op by USA agencies, claims Facebook post

Indian students held in sting op by USA agencies, claims Facebook post

Indian students held in sting op by USA agencies, claims Facebook post

"As of yesterday morning, ICE had administratively arrested 130 foreign nationals enrolled at the University of Farmington for civil immigration violations", Carissa Cutrell, a spokesperson for ICE, wrote in an email. The two numbers - 202-322-1190 and 202-340-2590 - would be manned by senior embassy officials round the clock, officials said on Friday. Out of the 600, 100 students were related to Farmington University.

Unbeknownst to the conspirators, the university was operated by special agents of the Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) as part of an undercover operation, from a small building in Detroit area.

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.

United States authorities had arrested 129 Indians enrolled at a fake university ran by undercover agents in Detroit, Michigan to expose a "pay-to-stay" immigration fraud till Thursday and officials have said more apprehensions are expected.

Several foreigners, including from India, face deportation from the U.S. after authorities busted a "pay to stay" visa racket by arresting eight persons on charges of fraudulently facilitating hundreds of immigrants to illegally remain in the country.

Indian news reports say as many as 129 Indians were among those detained on January 30 by United States immigration authorities in connection with enrollment at a fake university.

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 spokesperson for the US Embassy here said it has received a demarche.

India has said that its Embassy and Consulates in the United States attach "the highest priority to the welfare of the detained students" and "will continue to work with the USA authorities and other stakeholders to address the issue". The arrested Indian students are mainly from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

One of them, the American Telugu Association has launched a webpage to help the students and organized a webinar with immigration lawyers to guide them "to be watchful with fake agents who promise illegal ways to stay in United States of America with admissions in unaccredited colleges".

"We are all aware that global students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended worldwide student visa programme can also be exploited and abused", stated US Attorney Matthew Schneider.

In a precedent to the latest sting, immigration agents set up the fake University of Northern New Jersey in 2016 under the Obama administration. So far, about 30 Indian students have been contacted by the consular officers.

"All participants in the scheme knew that the school had no instructors or actual classes", ICE said. "They promised that they were working closely with the concerned authorities and will resolve the issue in a fast and amicable manner", said TANA secretary Anjaiah Chowdary Lavu.

Prosecutors called it a "pay-to-stay" scam because the students paid the recruiters to get documents from from the fake university to enable them to stay on in a student visa without attending classes.

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