(Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
(Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Washington: Eminent Indian-Americans and some media outlets have questioned the modus operandi of the US government in the detention of 129 Indians in the “pay-and-stay” university visa scam, saying “trapping of innocent students” is a “crime, illegal and immoral”. As many as 130 foreign students, including 129 Indians, have been arrested by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for enroling at a fake university allegedly to remain in America.  The “fake” University of Farmington was set up by the DHS’s investigating unit in Greater Detroit area to bust the “pay-and-stay” racket. Dr Raghava Reddy Ghosala, a psychiatrist and president of North American Telugu Association (NATA), told PTI “trapping of innocent students like this is a crime. This is illegal and immoral”. He has been in touch with several of these students detained by the US Immigration and Customs

Enforcement (ICE) as part of its nationwide crackdown on the “pay-and-stay” racket. The university, in the last two years, enrolled some 600 students, mostly Indians. It held no classes and collected a nominal fee from the students and gave them Curricular Practical Training on day one of the enrollment, which gave students temporary authorisation for practical training directly related to their study or to work. “As per our inquiry, it looks like they (the US government) set up the trap. I heard from victims,” Ghosala said, adding one of the victims even went to India and came back without any problem. “He did not get arrested then. Now he is leaving the US for good on Monday. Such a modus operandi is illegal and is a wrong thing to do,” he said. Amer Zahr, a Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy, told the WXYZ Detroit news: “It seems the government was really involved in tricking students into violating the terms of their visas”.

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