250 students, including Indians, held from fake US university: Report
US investigators may have continued to arrest students enrolled in a fake university authorities had set up to check immigration fraud till July, an American news outlet has reported. Most of the students were from India.
An estimated 600 students were enrolled at the University of Farmington in Michigan, which was set up by the Department of Homeland Security to entrap foreigners allegedly intending to stay in the US by enrolling themselves in US colleges and universities in a pay-to-stay scheme.
Nearly 250 students were arrested or detained during January to July by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), taking up the total from 161 previously reported last March, the news article by Detroit Free Press reported.
The DFP report added that the ICE said it had arrested 161 students till March and that figure had gone up to nearly 250 by July. And 80% of those arrested sought and were granted permission to deport themselves, the report said citing ICE.
An ICE spokesperson said in response to a request for clarification from HT that though the 250 arrests of former University of Farmington students occurred between January and July 2019, “the majority of them (took) place by mid-February 2019”.
Rahul Reddy, an immigration attorney from Texas who had advised some of the affected students, told HT that he had not heard of any arrests. He said that out of the 600 enrolled at the fake university, nearly 350 had self-deported immediately. Of the remaining 250, most left for India, as the DFP report also stated, and the rest may either be in the process of being sent home or trying to stay on legally. The Indian government called the move by the ICE entrapment, which is illegal in India, and criticised the programme for enticing genuine students to a fake university with credible offers of course work and optional practical training.