New Delhi: The foreign students were arrested last week by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for enrolling at the University of Farmington allegedly to remain in America. The fake university was set up by the DHS’s investigating unit in Greater Detroit area to bust the “pay-and-stay” racket.
All participants in this scheme knew that the University of Farmington had no instructors or classes (neither on-line nor in-person) and were aware they were committing a crime in an attempt to fraudulently remain in the United States,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.
The State Department’s response came after India issued a demarche to the American Embassy in New Delhi , expressing its concern over the detention of Indian students and sought immediate consular access to them.
The External Affairs Ministry said India continued to closely monitor the situation arising out of the mass detention. Eight of the individuals who ran this racket have been arrested and are either Indian citizen or Indian American.
The fake university which had no classes, a low tuition fee and gave work permits on the very first of the enrolments of the students had some 600 students, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indians.
The actual number of those detained is much higher. Some of the students who were released and many of those who escaped detention have left the country.
An unknown number of Indian students have been radio tagged and authorities have put restrictions on their movement. The Indian Embassy here has made an aggressive effort to reach out to these students and, with the help of the community leaders, is providing them with legal help.
Eminent Indian-Americans and some media outlets have also questioned the modus operandi of the US government in the detention of Indians in the “pay-and-stay” university visa scam, saying “trapping of innocent students” is a “crime, illegal and immoral”.
In the first reaction, days after the story broke out, the State Department had described it an unfortunate aberration in the proud history of India-US educational exchanges.
“More than a million international students’ study at US 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 State Department said.
Don’t leave children of foreign fighters in legal limbo, UN urges states
LONDON: Children of foreign fighters must have the right to belong to a country, lawyers and the United Nations said , after Britain stripped the citizenship of a teenage mother who travelled to Syria at 15 to join IS.
The fate of Shamima Begum, who was found in a refugee camp in Syria last week, has illustrated the ethical, legal and security conundrum that governments face when dealing with the families of militants who swore to destroy the West.
With IS depleted and Kurdish-led militia poised to seize the group’s last holdout in eastern Syria, Western capitals are trying to work out what to do with battle-hardened foreign jihadist fighters and their wives and children.
The UN children’s agency, Unicef, said all children have “the right to a name, an identity and a nationality” according to international laws and governments had a responsibility to adopt safeguards that prevent a child from being born stateless.
“But where this occurs, those children need legal-aid and support to ensure no child is denied their right to citizenship,” Unicef said in an email.
There is no reliable estimate for the number of stateless people globally although the UN estimates it could be 12 million and wants to end statelessness by 2024 as it can leave people with no access to basic rights like education and health.
Amal de Chickera, co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, said Britain should have taken Begum and her child and put her under investigation as it had an obligation to look after the baby and children in similar cases. “It’s deeply concerning to see this happening to a baby that’s just a few days old,” he said in a phone interview.
“One must question the effectiveness of this measure: does citizenship-stripping really strengthen or protect national security? Or can it potentially lead to further radicalisation?”—Thomson Reuters Foundation
UN envoy says risk of Israeli-Palestinian war looms large
United Nations: The UN Mideast envoy says the prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians “is fading by the day as the specter of violence and radicalism grows” and “the risk of war continues to loom large”.
Nikolay Mladenov also told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that a negotiated two-state solution is drifting further away.
In his words: “What is needed, first and foremost, is the necessary leadership and political will for change. Until that will can be found, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to slide into increasingly hazardous territory.”
Mladenov stressed that leaders must believe peace is possible through negotiations.
He also said leaders and the international community must be committed to support Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace deal based on U.N. resolutions and bilateral agreements.
Saudi to free 850 Indian prisoners from its jails
Mumbai: Saudi Arabia will release 850 Indians from its prisons after a request from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) visit to New Delhi, India’s Foreign Ministry has said.
Saudi jails hold the greatest number of Indians incarcerated in any country abroad. As of January 2019, 2,224 Indians were in prison in the kingdom for crimes including murder, kidnapping, bribery, and offences related to drugs and alcohol, according to Indian Foreign Ministry figures.
The approximately 2.7 million Indians in Saudi Arabia form the largest expatriate community in the kingdom, with many working in low-paid jobs in sectors such as construction, domestic services and retailing that Saudis spurn.
“At the request of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners lodged in Saudi jails,” India’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a tweet.
India ‘to choke’ Pakistan’s water supply in light of Pulwama: Nitin Gadkari
New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, on Thursday, threatened that India would ‘choke’ the water supply to Pakistan in light...
69 killed as massive fire breaks out in chemical warehouses in Bangladesh capital
Dhaka: At least 69 people were killed as a massive fire ripped through several buildings also used as chemical and...