The Chief of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration Authorities of U.S. has been requested in a letter written by four members of the Congress board to treat the 129 detained Indian students leniently and humanely.
Reason for the Arrest
These 129 students were detained on the grounds of enrollment in a non-existent University just to get into the U.S. for personal reasons. They were caught in a trap laid out by Special Agents in the ICE to track down illegal immigrants in the country. The arrest took place on the 31st of January, and the report has it that the majority of them are citizens of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. They paraded as students of a University by the name ‘University of Farmington’, being fully aware of the depth and repercussion of their crime.
Based on charges put forward in a court last week by the U.S. attorney in charge of the Eastern District of Michigan, eight persons who were suspected to be responsible for recruiting the ‘students’ into the fraudulent University, are being indicted for conspiring to commit visa fraud and harbouring foreigners for the purpose of making profit.
The Letter for Leniency
The congressmen who wrote this petition are Brenda Lawrence, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rob Woodall, and Thomas R. Suozzi.
In the letter, they urged the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the DHS to see to it that the students are treated well and accorded all their lawful rights, which include freedom to contact an attorney and if eligible, the right to be released on bond.
They went further to implore the ICE and DHS to share detailed and updated information on the dealings of the students with the Indian Consulates and Embassy. With more emphasis on the consulate, they impressed on the need for the detainees to have consular access.
Putting the Horse before the Cart
The congressmen projected the importance of these students to the U.S. in a different light, referring to the “friendship and strategic partnership” between both countries (India and the United States). According to the letter, these students are very important to the relationship and mutual growth of both countries, as they serve as the vital support for the human exchanges going on between both countries. The letter pointed out that if the U.S. must put its economic and cultural growth in consideration before passing strict judgment on the detainees, it will realize the need to treat them as humanely and justly as possible, knowing that they arrived the US on the basis of merit and in the wind of steady partnership between countries.
Meanwhile, of the 129 students detained, 117 of them have successfully gotten access to the Indian Embassy and Consulates present in the country. However, efforts are still being made to reach out to the other students.
Nevertheless, the detained students have been placed under removal proceedings as the U.S. authorities have decided that they should be deported.
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