(Image source from: www.abajournal.com)
US lawmakers led by Indian-American congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi wrote a letter to the authorities seeking details of the detained 129 students from India.
In recent raids by US federal authorities Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 130 students out of which 129 are Indians.
In this letter they urge the authorities to ensure the detained students treated properly and afforded all rights provided to them under the law including access to an attorney and release on bond, if they are eligible. We further urge DHS and ICE to share full details and regular updates regarding the Indian Students with the Embassy and Consulates of India, and to facilitate consular access for the detainees.
The letter was written by Congressman Rob Woodall, Thomas Souzzi, Brenda Lawrence and Raja Krishnamoorthi.
We write this with concerns surrounding the recent undercover operation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, in which HSI special agents operated a fake university(University of Farmington), designed to target recruiters and foreign students believed to be engaged in immigration fraud.
According to ICE, the investigation began in 2015, and HSI agents have been operating the fake school since 2017, according to the indictment unsealed last week, 8 individuals served as recruiters for the school, enrolling hundreds of foreign nationals as students at the university.
“These eight recruiters have been indicted for conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit by the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.”
“Indian-American community and Indian Consulate have expressed concerns regarding the treatment of these detained foreign nationals.”
Mentioned that India is an important strategic partner and friend to the US, the lawmakers said in 2017, Indian students comprised 17.3 per cent of all international students in the country, numbering over 186,000.
These students are a vital pillar of the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, and they come to the US on grounds of merit.
The Congressmen said, "In the spirit of continuing cooperation on educational exchange programs, which benefit both countries economically and culturally, we ask that you ensure the students involved in this case are treated fairly, humanely, and in accordance with due process.