U.S. fake university: India protests after students arrested

03 February, 2019, 19:53 | Author: Donnie King
  • Over 100 students arrested in US immigration fraud attorneys cry foul

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that the university was set up by authorities as part of a sting operation to catch people violating the terms of their visas. The two numbers - 202-322-1190 and 202-340-2590 - would be manned by senior embassy officials round the clock, officials said on Friday.

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". It said it was trying to help the affected students and had met Indian consular officials in the U.S. about the case.

Court documents show that the recruiters were paid between $5,000 and $20,000 at meetings with Homeland Security Investigations agents involved in the university for recruiting the students.

India has lodged a protest with the United States after several Indian students were detained in connection with their enrolment in a fake university.

As many as 129 Indians are among the 130 foreign students arrested for enrolling at a fake university allegedly to remain in the US.

The US authorities arrested around 100 Indians, mainly Telugu speaking, on Wednesday and issued warrants for the arrest of 600 persons.

129 Indian student along with 8 other individuals were arrested after the US Department of Homeland security busted an immigration fraud by setting up a fake university in Farmington Hills, Michigan state of US.

The Indian government said the students could have been tricked into enrolling.

"Hi, I have mailed to Indian embassy and they said that they are trying to meet my husband through the consulate".

The US embassy in Delhi confirmed it had received the demarche but made no further statement.

"Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents uncovered a nationwide network that grossly exploited United States immigration laws. We are monitoring the situation closely and have impressed upon the USA government the need to address the situation at the earliest", the government spokesperson told TOI.

"Each of our five Consulates in the country has identified a nodal officer who could be contacted for any issue in this situation". However, Indian officials said the students had been duped.

The post went on to say, "Ever since the American Telugu Association started getting calls for guidance and help, the ATA leadership and teams in various cities swung into action".

The website of the fake university has been closed by government officials.

"The government utilized very questionable and troubling methods to get these foreign students to join the institution", Ravi Mannam, an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, told The New York Times.

"A 24/7 helpline has been established in our Embassy in Washington D.C. for assistance/queries related to the detention of Indian students".

"Each of the foreign citizens who "enrolled" and made "tuition" payments to the University knew that they would not attend any actual classes, earn credits, or make academic progress toward an actual degree in a particular field of study - a "pay to stay" scheme, '" the indictment reads. "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.


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