Indians among 130 students arrested in U.S. immigration fraud, attorneys cry foul

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...

The Indian government has asked the US Department of Homeland Security for a list of all the detained Indian students and a formal request has been placed for providing consular access to them.

The report states that these 8 student recruiters were arrested after the USA agencies used a fake college, the University of Farmington as part of their undercover operation to identify these recruiters, who never knew that the university was under U.S. agencies vigil and the students who were enrolled by them.

Indian media said more than 100 students had been detained in the United States.

At first glance, it seemed real, the University of Farmington boasted that its "innovative curriculum combines traditional instruction and distance learning with full-time professional experiences". But attorneys who have spoken with students or with family and friends of those arrested are pushing back against the government's claims.

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The arrests took place across the United States, in New Jersey, Atlanta, Houston, Michigan, California, Louisiana, North Carolina and St Louis.

He said what the University of Farmington was offering - allowing students to work while enrolled - is not unusual. 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. The courses "can be done at a remote location".

In the "about us" page, the university said, "University of Farmington traces its lineage back to the early 1950s, when returning soldiers from the Second World War were seeking a quality and marketable education". Upon their arrival in the US, they transferred to the University of Farmington, which offered no academic or vocational programs of any kind.

ICE said that the alleged recruiters facilitated hundreds of foreigners to illegally remain and work in the United States by enrolling in the fake university without the intention of attending classes.

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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. "The government utilised very questionable and troubling methods to get these foreign students to join the institution", Mannam said.

Diplomats from India's mission in Washington as well as consulates visited several detention centres in the USA to extend consular assistance to the detained students, the statement said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India continues to closely monitor and take proactive measures to address the situation arising out of the detention of several Indian students in the US. The website tells affected students to contact their local office of Homeland Security Investigations, the ICE agency that did the undercover operation.

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security shut down a website that had been created for the University of Farmington. He also said, each of their five Consulates in U.S. has identified a nodal officer who could be contacted for any issue in the situation.

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