US visa fraud case: Hundreds of Indian students face deportation

Indian students deported

Over 1,000 people, mostly Indian and Chinese students, are facing deportation from the US after being caught in a sting operation by federal agents which entailed a fake university set up by the government to nail the visa fraud. In a nationwide sweep federal authorities have arrested 21 people, including ten Indian-Americans in New York, New Jersey, Washington and Virginia. “These defendants arranged to obtain visas by having individuals enroll in a fake university. Unfortunately, for them, that fake university was run by undercover agents of the Department of Homeland Security,” Paul J Fishman, US Attorney for New Jersey, said.  The US authorities are planning to deport hundreds of Indian students in this case. “Foreigners who used the services will likely not be prosecuted, but will have their visas revoked,” Mr Fishman added.

The persons involved in the visa fraud case allegedly contacted the fake university in New Jersey to provide certificates for students legally studying and working in the US.  This fake University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ) was indirectly initiated by agents of Homeland Security Investigations (a unit of the Department of Homeland Security) in order to expose visa scam and to catch the visa fraud accused. The accused were not aware of the fact that the fake university was being investigated by federal agents.  According to the US authorities, around 1,000 foreign students were given accommodation in the US by the accused after completing all the legal formality from this fake university UNNJ. The visa of non-immigrant students is expected to be canceled.

According to reports, the Indian Embassy is in constant touch with the US government for seeking fair decision for around 370 Indian students. The embassy has also requested the US authorities to not to arrest and deport the students. The Indian embassy is also waiting for a reply from consular access for the arrested students holding Indian passport.

Federal agents set up the fake university UNNJ in 2013, which had a website that promised “exceptional” education for foreign students wishing to study in the US and provided links to academic programmes.

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