HYDERABAD: After allegations that the 129 Indian students detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were being treated poorly, US Congressmen Thomas R Suozzi, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Brenda Lawrence and Rob Woodall have written to the two agencies asking that the students be “treated properly and afforded all rights provided to them under the law”.
A campaign spearheaded by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois (8th Congressional District) led an effort to ensure that the students are allowed all rights available to them under law. The trio has urged DHS and ICE to share updates regarding the Indian students with the Embassy and Consulate of India and facilitate consular access for detainees.
With Indians constituting 17.3 per cent of foreign students in the US, the Congressmen said it was important that the two countries maintain good relations and that the detained students be treated “fairly, humanely and in accordance with the due procedure”. “Indian students numbering over 1,86,000 are a vital pillar of the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, and they come to the US on grounds of merit.
In the spirit of continuing cooperation on educational exchange programmes, which will benefit both countries, we ask that you ensure the students involved in this case are treated fairly...” read the letter addressed to Kirstjen M Nielse, secretary of DHS and Ronaldo D Vitiello acting director, ICE. As many as 129 Indian students were detained from across the United States last week for entering the country claiming they had got admissions at Farmington University — a fake varsity.
Eight persons arrested for admitting 592 students to the varsity are under trial. One of them was released on an unsecured bond of $10,000 while others pleaded “not guilty”. Thus far, the Indian embassy has been able to gain consular access to 117 of the students and legal assistance is being extended to them.