The US authority has arrested 129 Indians arrested for enrolling at a fake university allegedly to stay in the US. This is for the first time probably that such a large number of Indian students have been arrested in one go.
The Indian embassy in the US has opened a 24/7 hotline to assist 129 Indian students arrested by the American authorities in the “pay-and-stay” university visa scam,.
The fake university in Detroit’s Farmington Hills was part of an undercover operation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to target foreign students who were staying in the US without proper authorisation and expose immigration fraud
The arrested students, their friends and family members can contact the embassy at [email protected] The Indian embassy has appointed a nodal officer to handle and coordinate all issues related to helping Indian students affected by the busting of the “pay-and-stay” racket that has put some 600 students under trouble.
— India in USA (@IndianEmbassyUS) February 1, 2019
The two numbers – 202-322-1190 and 202-340-2590 – would be manned by senior embassy officials round the clock, officials said on Friday.
The Indian embassy has appointed a nodal officer to handle and coordinate all issues related to helping Indian students affected by the busting of the “pay-and-stay” racket run by a group of Indians that has put some 600 students under trouble.
The number is expected to increase further. ICE officials will continue with their nationwide crackdown on Indian students enrolled in this fake university while working at different places.
Federal prosecutors claim the students were aware the university was not running a legitimate operation. But attorneys who have spoken with students or with family and friends of those arrested are pushing back against the government’s claims.
According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in 2017, as many as 249,763 Indian students were enrolled in the various American universities.
Students from China topped the list with 481,106 in 2017.
The arrests took place across the US, in New Jersey, Atlanta, Houston, Michigan, California, Louisiana, North Carolina and St Louis. It has created panic among the Indian students. Some friends and families of the detained Indian students are using Twitter seeking help from the Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The ICE said foreign students are granted what are called “F” and “M” visas to study in the US. They must maintain their legal status by enrolling in a varsity certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. The ICE said since the Farmington varsity did not offer courses, the students were using the programme as a way to work.
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