India gets consular access to 117 students in US

The External Affairs Ministry Tuesday said they have obtained consular access to 117 out of the 129 Indian students detained by US’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for enrolling in a ‘fake university’, reported ANI.

The ministry added that “consular access to the remaining students, estimated at about a dozen, are continuing, including through the 24/7 helpline set up by the embassy and outreach to the community”.

As many as 129 Indians are among the 130 foreign students arrested last week by US immigration authorities for enrolling at a fake university called Farmington University in Greater Detroit area, allegedly to remain in the US.The fake university was opened by Homeland Security Investigations to trap those involved in illegal student visa racket. It has now been closed.

Days after India issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi, the US State Department justified its action saying these students were aware they were committing a crime to fraudulently remain in the US.

“All participants in this scheme knew that the University of Farmington had no instructors or classes (neither on-line nor in-person) and were aware they were committing a crime in an attempt to fraudulently remain in the United States,” a State Department spokesperson had said in a statement.
They described it as an ‘unfortunate abberation in the proud history of India-US educational exchanges’.

The Indian Embassy, as an outreach to the detained students, has also 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.

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