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129 of 130 arrested in US visa fraud scheme are Indians

04 February 2019

According to the Times of India report, the spokesperson of the Indian government said, "Our Mission and Posts are ready to render all assistance to Indian students in the U.S. to deal with the emerging situation".

It has also conveyed to the USA authorities that a distinction should be made between those involved in recruiting or enrolling students and students who had been duped or defrauded in the process. The ministry said it urged the USA to release them "at the earliest" and cautioned that some "may have been duped".

According to the to the indictments, from February 2017 to January 2019, a group of foreign citizens, conspired with each other and others to fraudulently facilitate hundreds of foreign nationals in illegally remaining and working in the U.S. by actively recruiting them to enroll into a metro Detroit private university Framington University. Our concern over the dignity and well-being of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated.

A spokesperson from the American Embassy said, "We can confirm that the embassy received a demarche from the Ministry of External Affairs about the Indian citizens detained in the United States this week".

University of Farmington is the second fake institution of higher learning created by law enforcement to catch student immigration scams.

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Lawyers have argued numerous students enrolled believing the university was legal.

The ministry has also established a 24/7 helpline in the Indian Embassy in Washington for assistance.

The arrested Indians have been placed in "removal proceedings" - marked for deportation, in other words - and will remain in the custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until the conclusion of their case by immigration courts. "Vast majority" of those arrested and detained are Indian nationals, an ICE official told PTI.

In the "about us" page, the university said, "University of Farmington traces its lineage back to the early 1950s, when returning soldiers from the Second World War were seeking a quality and marketable education".

According to the Detroit News, many of those arrested now face deportation.

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They collectively profited in excess of a $250,000, the agency said.

The Indian Embassy and consulates are in touch with the various US government departments, including the Homeland Security and the ICE, and consular officers have met with some of the detainees, the Indian Embassy told The Hindu on Friday afternoon.

"Madam, this is regarding the fake university (university of Farmington Michigan) issue".

It goes on to allege that each student knew the university's programmes were not approved by Homeland Security and that it was illegal. The Indian embassy in the USA has opened a 24/7 hotline to assist them round the clock. "We are ascertaining more details (through) our embassy in Washington and different consulates in the US.We have also mobilised the Indian community organisations in the US to extend all possible support to the Indian students who are affected by this incident".

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129 of 130 arrested in US visa fraud scheme are Indians