129 Indians out of 130 ‘students’ arrested in US ‘pay-and-stay’ immigration scam


US authorities arrested 129 Indians enrolled in a fake university run by undercover agents in Detroit, Michigan, to expose immigration fraud from “pay to stay” until Thursday, and authorities said more arrests are expected.

Arrested Indians have been placed in “expulsion proceedings”, marked for deportation, in other words, and will remain in the custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until the immigration courts conclude Their case.

US prosecutors ,They announced on Thursday the arrest of eight men of Indian descent for using the fake university, the University of Farmington, to administer a “per stay” for foreigners who stay on a student visa and work. The institute, which was promoted as a “nationally accredited business and STEM institution,” had no instructors and no teaching or educational activities. Since then it has been closed and its website has been removed.

At least 600 students have registered, officials said.

“As of yesterday morning, ICE had administratively arrested 130 foreign nationals enrolled at the University of Farmington for civil immigration violations,” Carissa Cutrell, an ICE spokeswoman, wrote in an email.Of the 130, he added, 129 were Indian citizens.

“These people have been placed in deportation proceedings, and ICE will seek to keep them in their custody pending the outcome of those proceedings.”Cutrell also said that more arrests were expected.

The Indian embassy in Washington DC has been in contact with US officials and has sought consular access to the arrested students and officials have said they are doing everything possible to help.

The majority of those affected are from Telengana and Andhra Pradesh and also receive help from community associations. One of them, the American Telugu Association has launched a website to help students and organized a webinar with immigration lawyers to guide them to “monitor false agents who promise illegal ways to stay in the US With admissions in non-accredited universities. ”

Lawyers have argued that many of the enrolled students believed that the university was legal. Some of them were studying elsewhere and moved to Farmington when their course lost accreditation. Others were doing a second master’s degree as sought for specialized work in the B-1B program, which awards 20,000 visas each year to holders of advanced degrees from educational institutions in the United States.

“The government used very questionable and problematic methods for these foreign students to join the institution,” Ravi Mannam, an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, told The New York Times.

Prosecutors, however, have argued that the students knew what they were getting into. The undisclosed allegations on Thursday said the students knew that the university’s program had not been approved by the government. “Each of the foreign citizens who ‘enrolled’ and made ‘tuition’ payments to the University knew that they would not attend any real class, would not obtain credits or progress academically towards a real grade in a particular field of study. to stay “‘scheme.

“Rather, his intention was to fraudulently maintain the status of his student visa and obtain a work authorization under the CPT (a curricular training program related to the course that allows off-campus work authorization for foreign students).