New Delhi :
The arrest of 129 Indian students in connection with the alleged pay-and-stay university visa scam in the US has nothing to do with President Donald Trumpâ€™s anti-immigration drive and the charges against them would have been pursued even under a different administration, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told News Nation in an exclusive chat. Speaking to News Nation, special DHS agent Spencer Camp said, "Even if the Department were under a different administration, we would still continue to pursue charges upon these individuals." The agent was asked if the action were, in any way, part of Trumpâ€™s anti-immigration drive.
The Trump administration has been considering changes in the H1B visa regulations that directly affect Indians. Recently, the US government had announced that new regulations forÂ theÂ H-1B visa that will give greater preference to workers with advanced degrees from US institutions.
Although agent camp refused to divulge more details about the case citing open investigation, he did confirm that the arrested students will be deported back to India if proven guilty and will be prosecuted in as per the Indian law.
â€œDepartment has no comment on the incident at this time, due to an open investigation. I believe, they would be deported and prosecuted in their home countries,â€ Camp told News Nation.
As many as 129 Indian students were arrested by the Homeland Security Department for allegedly enrolling at a fake university to remain in the US. The Department of Homeland Security had opened a fake university in Detroitâ€™s Farmington Hills to trap people involved in the illegal student visa scam.
The 129 students and one other foreign national were arrested on civil immigration charges and were lodged in Prairieland Detention Centre. Some of them were also put under 'house arrest' with tracking devices on their ankle. Reacting to the arrests, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said that it was aware of the incident and was doing all the possible efforts to help the students in distress and opened a 24/7 hotline for queries and assistance.
â€œWe are awareÂ aboutÂ this incident. We are ascertaining more details (through) our embassy in Washington and different consulates in the US...We have also mobilised the Indian community organisations in the US to extend all possible support to the Indian students who are affected by this incident,â€ MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi.
For queries and assistance related to the detention of Indian students in the US, please contact our special 24/7 helpline. pic.twitter.com/iorYgZ5cxXâ€” Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 2, 2019