The American Telangana Association had reached out to the US politician to intervene for the 20 students detained at two different detention centres in Michigan.

US politician voices support for Indians embroiled in fake university sting operationElissa Slotkin/Facebook Profile
news Education Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 16:21

After prompting from US-based Telangana associations, a US Congress representative has voiced support for the release of the 129 students detained in the US, many of whom are from the two Telugu-speaking states. In a carefully worded letter, Elissa Slotkin, a US Representative for Michigan's 8th Congressional district, said the only mistake of the students was misunderstanding a foreign work-study program.

In a letter addressed to the Indian American community in the US, Slotkin wrote, “It is our understanding that these students were not aware that the university in which they had enrolled was fraudulent, and their only mistake was to misunderstand a foreign work-study program in their pursuit of higher education and career ambition. Indeed, they are not being criminally charged.”

As many as 600 students have been issued warrants and 129 students detained at 30 detention centres across the US by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to their enrollment in the fake University of Farmington, created by the Homeland Security officials as part of a sting operation. The fake university was conceived to lure students who wanted to stay in the country as part of a ‘pay-to-stay’ scheme. Eight student recruiters were booked under criminal charges, and one has come out on bail.

The American Telangana Association had reached out to the Slotkin to intervene on behalf of the 20 students detained at two different detention centres in her state. The association has urged the politician to facilitate voluntary departure for the detained students and to ensure that their re-entry to the United States won't be barred.

Slotkin says she had spoken personally with the Indian Ambassador to work with the Consulate General in Chicago to provide adequate legal representation for the detained students.

Elissa has expressed her intention to pursue the matter after the court hearing on February 12. She also intends to write to the Department of Homeland security.