Naturally, lawyers are demanding their immediate release.
Students are claiming to have been ‘duped’, but there was no school, no curriculum, and no classes.
Eight “recruiters”, who are said to have made around $250,000 (£191,000) in profit by enlisting more than 600 people, have been charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harbouring aliens for profit.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also detained 130 people who had enrolled at the university – all but one of them from India, according to reports.
“Homeland Security Investigations special agents uncovered a nationwide network that grossly exploited US immigration laws,” said Steve Francis, the special agent in charge said in a statement.
“These suspects aided hundreds of foreign nationals to remain in the United States illegally by helping to portray them as students, which they most certainly were not. All participants in the scheme knew that the school had no instructors or actual classes.”
Officials in India are painting the complicit students as victims, as well as the recruiters who used them as a sizeable meal ticket.
The ministry of external affairs said it was concerned that its citizens may have been “duped” into enlisting at the University of Farmington in Michigan and called for them not to be deported against their will.
It said it had made a démarche, a formal diplomatic request or protest, to the US Embassy in New Delhi.
“Our concern over the dignity and well-being of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
“We underlined that students, who may have been duped into enrolling in the ‘university’, should be treated differently from those recruiters who have duped them.
What do you think? Were they ‘duped’ into going to a school with no classes or courses? Or were they gaming the system to be in the country?
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