130 students have been arrested in a “pay-to-stay scam” in the United States, out of which 129 are Indian citizens. The arrest of Indian students has now become a “top priority” for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs
Indian Ministry of External Affairs under Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj has made the detainment of 129 Indian students in the United States a “top priority”. Reportedly, 130 foreign students, comprising 129 Indians, were arrested by the US Department of Homeland Security in a “pay-to-stay scam” that promised extension of the American visa. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the immigration violations were unveiled during an undercover operation at the Farmington University in Michigan. The operation was carried out to target international students, who were disobeying immigration regulations to stay in the country.
Soon after the arrest, the Indian Embassy in Washington opened a 24×7 hotline service for the 129 Indian students. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs was also quick to address the issue and extend assistance through a Ministry helpline. MEA official spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “For queries and assistance related to the detention of Indian students in the US, please contact our special 24/7 helpline.”
While the US Department of Homeland Security has asserted that the international students were aware of the scam at the time of enrollment to the university, the immigration attorneys argue otherwise.
Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar affirmed that the Ministry of External Affairs has “mobilised the Indian community organisations in the US to extend all possible support to the Indian students who are affected by this incident.” He added, “We are on it! Mobilising resources and closely working with the US Government to address the situation arising out of the detention of Indian students in the US. Welfare of those detained is the highest priority for us.”