Treat students distinctly from fraudsters: govt to US

Last Updated 01 February 2019, 18:03 IST

The Embassy of India in Washington DC sought consular access to the 129 Indian students whom the US Homeland Security Department’s officials detained from across America for alleged violation of immigration rules.

The sleuths of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested eight “recruiters” – all Indian citizens based in Michigan, Florida and the Virginia States of America – for allegedly running a racket for visa frauds. They were indicted for facilitating hundreds of foreign nationals to illegally remain and work in the US by enrolling them into a private varsity – the University of Farmington – at Detroit in Michigan.

The University of Farmington was in fact a fictitious non-existent varsity set up by the US ICE and HSI sleuths to catch the “recruiters”, who assisted foreign citizen “students” in fraudulently obtaining immigration documents from the school and facilitated the creation of false student records, including transcripts, for the purpose of deceiving immigration authorities.

Not only the eight “recruiters”, but the US ICE officials also “administratively arrested” 130 foreign nationals, who were enrolled at the University of Farmington, and 129 of them were identified as Indian nationals.

They were arrested for violations of civil immigration rules. “These individuals (129 Indian students) have been placed in removal proceedings, and the ICE will seek to maintain them in its custody pending the outcome of those proceedings,” Khaalid Walls, spokesperson of the US ICE, said in a statement.

New Delhi on Friday conveyed to the Donald Trump Administration that a “distinction” should be made between the eight arrested “recruiters” and the 129 students, who had been duped in the process.

The Embassy of India in Washington DC and the Consulate General of India in other cities across the US were according “highest priority” to resolve “the situation arising out of the detention” of the 129 Indian students in America.

“As soon as we received the information regarding their detention, our mission contacted the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security requesting for a list of the detained students along with relevant identity details, the place of their detention,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

“We have placed a formal request for consular access, emphasising that the request may be taken as a very high priority,” Kumar said.

The MEA has asked its missions and posts in the US to render all assistance to the Indian students to deal with the emerging situation.

The Indian community organisations were also roped in to reach out to the students. “We are monitoring the situation closely and have impressed upon the US government the need to address the situation at the earliest,” Kumar added.

(Published 01 February 2019, 17:07 IST)

Follow us on