[USA], Feb 5 (ANI): The United States emphasised that instances of fraud schemes are "rare and unfortunate" while referring to the recent arrest of 129 Indian students in the United States in connection to their enrolment into a fraudulent university.
Speaking to ANI, a spokesperson of the US State Department said, "More than a million international students study at U.S. institutions each year, including approximately 196,000 Indian students last year. Instances of fraud schemes are rare, unfortunate aberrations in the proud history of educational exchange between the United States and India."
The Department of State spokesperson further highlighted that the "participants" of the scheme were aware of the fraudulent nature of their activities. "All participants in this scheme knew that the University of Farmington had no instructors or classes (neither online nor in-person) and were aware they were committing a crime in an attempt to fraudulently remain in the United States."
However, the United States reaffirmed that they fully supported international education and reinforced their commitment to "facilitating legitimate student travel".
"International students are a valuable asset to our universities and our economy and enrich our communities through sharing their diverse perspectives, skills, and experiences. It is unfortunate that some student recruiters and individuals seek to use the international student program to foster illegal immigration status in the United States,” the spokesperson said.
A US federal court charged eight Indian student recruiters- six from Detroit and one each from Florida and Virginia - in connection with the fraudulent scheme, along with arresting 129 Indian students.
The Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have also issued warrants for the arrest of 600 persons.
India had previously issued a demarche to the US Embassy in New Delhi over the detention of the students, voicing concern over their well-being while also seeking immediate consular access.
The Department of Homeland Security had set up a fake university in Farmington Hills to target foreign students who wanted to stay in the US without proper authorisation, according to federal indictment documents unsealed in Detroit. The students were seeking to take advantage of the US government's pay-to-stay scheme. (ANI)