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U.S., India discussing solution to detention of 129 students

Of the 129 Indian students detained in the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit’s University of Farmington sting operation, consular officers have established contact with 117, sources told The Hindu . These individuals are being held across 36 locations across the country as per the source. The goal is to meet all 129 detained individuals across 36 locations by Tuesday, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla told The Hindu . This was meant to happen on Monday but some detainees had been moved, Mr. Shringla said. Indian diplomats are engaged with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the State Department, sources familiar with the events told The Hindu . Consular access, resolution of the conditions of incarceration (such as availability of vegetarian food for those with dietary restrictions) and providing detainees with support in terms of accessing legal support are some of the issues being discussed. The Indian Embassy and consulates are also working with community associations and have set up a hotline, which had received approximately 300 calls (by Monday evening) from students and relatives of those detained, the source said. ‘Aware of crime’ The Indian side is trying to impress upon the U.S. authorities the need to distinguish between those who organised and facilitated the Farmington racket [eight individuals of Indian origin have been charged in this regard] and those who might have been duped and therefore “victims” of it, sources said. The U.S. government is currently of the view that all “students” were aware that the law was being broken. “Instances of fraud schemes are rare, unfortunate aberrations in the proud history of educational exchange between the U.S. and India. 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 U.S.,” a State Department spokesperson said on Monday. There is a concern that the sting operation, which some have said is tantamount to entrapment [ the government inducement of a crime and the defendant not being predisposed to engaging in criminal conduct] will damage the U.S.’s attractiveness as a destination for higher education for Indian students.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/us-india-discussing-solution-to-detention-of-129-students/article26189066.ece

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