The total number of students arrested in the fake university scam is now 172. The case remains ongoing, ICE tells the American Bazaar.
The total number of students arrested by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the crackdown on the fake Farming University now stands at 172, an ICE spokesperson told The American Bazaar.
ICE spokesperson Khaalid H. Walls wrote in email on March 13 that the investigation is ongoing. “ICE has administratively arrested 172 individuals formerly enrolled at the University of Farmington for immigration violations,” he wrote. “Some have since been removed or are in various stages of immigration proceedings before the nation’s immigration courts.”
Walls said out of 172 students arrested, 171 are Indian national. Asked whether there can be more arrests in the case, Walls, responded, “The case remains ongoing at this time.”
While it cannot be yet ruled out that more arrests can be made, immigration lawyers across the country are helping many students to take voluntary deportation.
The Farmington University scam was brought to light on January 30 this year, sending shock waves across the very affluent and academically sound Indian American community. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed the university was actually fake and acted as a trap created by the government to unearth an immigration scam. The university was set up by the DHS to expose immigration scam. The students were helped by some immigration agents to continue living in the United States as students while being enrolled in sham courses.
It was perhaps the first time that such a large number of Indian students have been arrested at the same time in the United States.
Parmesh Bheemreddy, president of the American Telugu Association, told the Bazaar that his organization believed “that about half of the total students arrested would have left the country on voluntary departure.”
As most of the students arrested came from Telangana region, the Telugu Association was involved initially in helping the detained students by connecting them through immigration lawyers and educating them on their options. “We are no longer actively in touch with students as the case is taking its legal course and its becoming very hard to track down,” Bheemreddy said. “However, people who reached India, some of their families did call us to thank that the students were back home.”
Asked if the agents that were arrested for getting the students admitted in the fake university scam were also from Telangana, Bheemreddy said, “We have no news on the agents. But we are sure that there is a different route for them as they are criminally charged. The students on the other hand are not criminals. They (students) are getting deported because they violated their students’ status, so they are now out of status and hence the deportation.”