However, the University was not real, it was created in 2015 as part of a sting operation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The two numbers 202-322-1190 and 202-340-2590 would be manned by senior embassy officials round the clock, officials said. Out of the 600, 100 students were related to Farmington University.
In a surprising case of Indian students getting arrested in US under the alleged 'immigration scam, ' the External Affairs Ministry under Sushma Swaraj has said that 'it's their top priority to get the students back to India under any circumstances'.
Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. has set up a 24/7 helpline for providing assistance and answering queries pertaining to the detention of Indian students.
While immigration attorneys said that the students were not aware that the university was operating illegally and criticised authorities for using "troubling" methods to trap them for profits, prosecutors hold the students accountable, claiming that they "knowingly enrolled" themselves in the fake university to falsely maintain their student visa status to remain in the US.
Several foreigners, including from India, face deportation from the USA after authorities busted a "pay to stay" visa racket by arresting eight persons on charges of fraudulently facilitating hundreds of immigrants to illegally remain in the country.
129 Indian student along with 8 other individuals were arrested after the US Department of Homeland security busted an immigration fraud by setting up a fake university in Farmington Hills, Michigan state of US.
He remarked that the "weight of the government of India" is behind the detained students.
"Hi, I have mailed to Indian embassy and they said that they are trying to meet my husband through the consulate".
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"A demarche was made to the Embassy of the United States in New Delhi by the Ministry of External Affairs".
The Ministry has urged the U.S side to share full details and regular s of the students with the Government, to release them from detention at the earliest and not to resort to deportation against their will.
The external affairs ministry statement said authorities were closely monitoring the situation and taking proactive measures. "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", Steve Francis, the HSI special agent in charge, said in the statement on January 30.
The ATA said that the news was brought to its attention by the affected students and their friends and that the association's legal and local teams in various cities swung into action for guidance and help.
The website of the fake university has been closed by government officials. "By Monday we will have access to nearly all our students", he added.
'The University was not staffed with instructors/educators, it had no curriculum, no actual classes, ' it said.
Prosecutors called it a "pay-to-stay" scam because the students paid the recruiters to get documents from from the fake university to enable them to stay on in a student visa without attending classes.
"There are specific universities who have advanced degree programmes that primarily involved practical training from day one that allows them to enroll and the bulk of the time is spent working", Sofo said.