New Delhi:31/1:(odiannews):Hundreds of students from India face deportation or criminal charges after the arrest Wednesday of eight men of Indian origin who had enrolled them at a fake university run by undercover US agents.
The arrests were followed by raids to snare racketeers who misuse the student visa to help unqualified foreigners to stay and work in the US.
The justice department of Michigan branch announced the arrest of the eight men, whose names indicated they were either Indians or American citizens of Indian descent, from all over the country and charged them with visa fraud and harbouring aliens for profit, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.
The alleged recruiters arrested were identified as Barath Kakireddy, of Florida; Suresh Kandala, of Virginia; Phanideep Karnati, of Kentucky; Prem Rampeesa, of North Carolina; Santosh Sama, of California; Avinash Thakkallapally, of Pennsylvania; Aswanth Nune, of Georgia; and Naveen Prathipati, of Texas.
Starting in 2015, the university was part of an undercover operation dubbed “Paper Chase” and designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud, according to the indictment
Homeland Security agents started posing as university officials in February 2017. The immigration crimes continued until this month and involved Homeland Security agents posing as owners and employees of the university.
A number of students enrolled in this fake institution, University of Farmington in Michigan state, were also taken into custody by agents of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an early morning swoop all over the country.
The number of students apprehended could be around 200, according to sources and witness accounts, of the total of an estimated 600 enrolled. But, those in the know warned, all 600 could be on the deportation list and some of them could be looking at a jail term as well.