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Deportation row: US says California varsities ‘still certified’

india Updated: Dec 24, 2015 01:04 IST
Yashwant Raj
Indian students deported

Many Indian students given admission in Silicon Valley University have been deported in recent days due to a ‘certification’ row. (Photo credit: Silicn Valley University Website)

The two California universities whose Indian students have been either deported or offloaded in recent days are “still certified”, the United States said Wednesday, leaving open questions about their status.

At least 40 Indian students headed for these universities have been deported from San Francisco — and an unspecified number from Dubai — on their way to the US, according to sources.

The ministry of external affairs in Delhi, on the other hand, has asked students enrolled at these universities to defer travel till it is clear why its students are being deported or turned away by US authorities.

“Both Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic College are still certified by SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) to enroll international students,” the department of immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) said in a statement.

About the deportations, it said, “US customs and border protection can deny entry to anyone attempting to enter the US, based on a variety of factors.”

But it gave no details of the deportations, their number or reasons.

Read | Deportation row: India to seek an explanation from the US

Even the Indian government hasn’t heard back from the US state department and the department of homeland security, which oversees ICE, which in turn regulates the intake of foreign students by US universities through SEVP.

The two universities have also dismissed reports of them being blacklisted , which was the reason ostensibly cited for deporting the newly enrolled Indian students. Northwestern called them “absolutely and completely false”, and SVU termed them “rumours” and said it was a “valid educational institution”.

When pressed about “still certified” — if it could mean the universities were under scrutiny — ICE spokesperson said, “Not implying anything… The schools are still certified to enrol international students.”

Unaccredited and uncertified universities have been shut down in the past for enrolling foreigners to facilitate their entry on student visas. Tri-Valley, a California university with 90% students from India, was shut down in 2011, and its promoter sentenced to 16 years in jail.

Northwestern and SVU are “still certified” with permission to enrol foreign students — a lot of them happen to be from India again.

Read | India strongly takes up 19 students’ deportation, says US denied entry

But why are they being deported now?

No reason has been given to the Indian government yet. “There appears to a massive glitch in the US system,” said an official.

“If these students were issued visas by the US on I-20 forms issued by these universities, why are they being punished?” the official asked. “Someone on their side has erred.”

“ In recent days, there have been several instances of denial of entry by the US Immigration authorities to Indian students having valid student visas to pursue studies in two educational institutions, namely, Silicon Valley University at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University, Fremont.

Government of India has taken up this matter with the US Government. We have asked the US authorities to explain the reasons for denial of entry on a large scale to Indian students holding valid visas. The response of the US Government is awaited,’ the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.