Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Fake university used as sting to catch phony foreign students

Fake university used as sting to catch phony foreign students

The recruiters helped the students to fraudulently obtain immigration documents from the school in a bid to deceive authorities, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. The fake university was opened by Homeland Security investigations to trap those involved in illegal student visa racket.

"Our concern over the dignity and wellbeing of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated", the ministry said.

The university in Detroit's Farmington Hills was part of an undercover operation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created to expose immigration fraud, according to federal prosecutors who announced charges in the case.

Consular Officers from Indian Consulate in Houston met the arrested Indian students at Prairieland Detention Centre, Alvarado, Texas.

In an exclusive interview to ANI, Shringla said, "We are obviously concerned and distressed that so many Indian students have been implicated in this issue regarding the University of Farmington in Farmington Hills, Michigan".

ICE said that the alleged recruiters facilitated hundreds of foreigners to illegally remain and work in the United States by enrolling in the fake university without the intention of attending classes.

More than 100 Indian students, who the authorities said had knowingly enrolled in the fake school, were reported to have been detained.

He said what the University of Farmington was offering - allowing students to work while enrolled - is not unusual. US Embassy has also confirmed the same.

"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".

"We refer you to the department of homeland security in the USA for information on their status", the spokesperson said.

The Ministry has urged the U.S side to share full details and regular s of the students with the Government, to release them from detention at the earliest and not to resort to deportation against their will.

The university has website set up with a physical address to a building on Northwestern Highway just south of 13 Mile.

The prosecutor maintains that the students arrested knew they were participating in the illegal operation, they call it a "pay-to-stay" scheme.

The arrests came to light after the friends and families of the arrested students contacted the American Telugu Association (ATA) who along with their legal team contacted Indian student associations across the country, guiding them on the further actions to take in the matter.

Over 600 Indian students in the United States, especially from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, have been arrested for violating immigration rules. A 24/7 helpline has been established in the embassy in Washington for assistance and to answer queries. It held no classes and collected a nominal fee from students and gave them "curricular practical training" after their enrolment, providing temporary authorisation for practical training related to their study or to work.

"We are all aware that global students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended worldwide student visa programme can also be exploited and abused", stated US Attorney Matthew Schneider.

The university is on the DHS list of institutions "eligible to enroll F-1 and M-1 students in the United States", according to a list on the "Study in the States" page on its website referring to the student visa categories that allow worldwide students to legally enter the US.

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