Several foreigners face deportation as pay to stay visa racket busted

Several foreigners face deportation as pay to stay visa racket busted

Several foreigners face deportation as pay to stay visa racket busted

The Indian Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla has expressed confidence that officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will have access to all detained Indian students in the country by tomorrow.

India has made a diplomatic protest to the USA after 129 Indian students were arrested for enrolling in a fake university.

The Indian government also urged the United States to release the students from detention at the earliest, without resorting to deportation against their will.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, till Thursday, had arrested 130 students from the fake Farmington University in Greater Detroit area.

The ICE said foreign students are granted what are called "F" and "M" visas to study in the United States and must maintain their legal status by enrolling in a varsity certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

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.

The external affairs ministry said in a statement that the demarche had conveyed India's "concern over the dignity and well-being of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access".

The US embassy spokesperson confirmed the receipt of the demarche.

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It also says the students knew that they would not attend any actual classes, earn credits or make academic progress toward an actual degree.

The fake institution was called The University of Farmington.

It said the students should be treated differently to any recruiters who may have duped them. "Vast majority" of those arrested and detained are Indian nationals, an ICE official told PTI. These eight recruiters had provided the required fake documents to 600 students to illegally stay in the US.

The eight alleged recruiters assisted foreign students in "fraudulently obtaining immigration documents from the school and facilitated the creation of false student records, including transcripts, for the goal of deceiving immigration authorities", the HSI statement said. "Eight student recruiters were charged with participating in a conspiracy to help at least 600 foreign citizens stay in the USA illegally, according to the indictments".

Meanwhile, the American Telugu Association estimates that about 100 students were arrested and that there are several others facing arrest warrants. "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.

"Each of our five Consulates in the country has identified a nodal officer who could be contacted for any issue in this situation". This was done following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The India mission and consulates have dropped in detention centres throughout the U.S. to extend consular assistance to the detained students, the MEA said. Before this incident, yet another student from Telangana was detained by the United States police for more than 14 hours.

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