HYDERABAD: Around 600 Indian students have been detained in the US for alleged immigration rules violations. According to the American Telugu Association, the students have detained after raids by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
It pointed out in a Facebook post that the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs arrested scores of Telugu students nationwide in a crackdown on foreign students who were staying in the country without proper authorization.
The Department of Homeland Security said it set up a fake university in Farmington Hills, MI to target foreign students who were staying in the US without proper authorization, according to federal indictments unsealed in Detroit Wednesday.
The American Telugu Association said from 2015, the university was part of a federal law enforcement undercover operation designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud. Eight student recruiters were charged with participating in a conspiracy to help at least 600 foreign citizens stay in the US illegally, according to the indictments.
“This news was brought to the attention of the American Telugu Association by the affected students and their friends,” the association said explaining its course of action.
Ever since the American Telugu Association started getting calls for guidance and help, the ATA leadership and teams in various cities swung into action. Since the early hours of Jan 30th, 2019, the ATA Legal team and local ATA teams reached out to the Indian Students Associations of various universities. They have been extending guidance to the students and affected parties by advising and counselling them on the next course of action.
ATA has contacted several attorneys and confirmed that arrest warrants for 600 students have been issued. 100 students connected to Farmington University have been arrested. Eight educational consulting agents have been taken into ICE custody.
The American Telugu Association met with the Indian Ambassador Harshvardhan Shingla and the Consulate General of India, Dr. Swati Vijay Kulkarni in Atlanta, and briefed them on the ongoing issues and remediation efforts.
The Ambassador and Consulate General expressed their concerns about the students and are working closely with the authorities. American Telugu Association chief Parmesh Bheemreddy has extended his complete support to the Indian Embassy towards resolving this issue.
Following this, ATA will be conducting a webinar on January 31 at 7 pm with immigration attorneys Ravi Mannam, Michael Sofo and Hemant Ramachandran. They will guide and counsel the students to be wary of fake agents who promise illegal ways to stay in the USA through admissions in unaccredited colleges and universities. The attorneys will also discuss what constitutes a violation of immigration laws and the right approach to being a legal immigrant in the United States, the association said.