Air India becomes savior: Stops students from boarding flight
Air India stopped 19 students from boarding a US-bound flight from Hyderabad after it emerged that the Universities they were joining were black-listed in the US. Previously, a group of fourteen Indian students, who were on their way to join universities in the US were deported after being interrogated by the FBI. India's External Affairs Ministry has taken up the matter with US officials.
Why were the students stopped?
Air India officials stated that since the universities the students were joining were black-listed in the US, they were likely to be deported as soon as they landed. They said the action was taken after receiving a communication from the US Customs and Border Protection agency. Air India said they didn't want the students to be "inconvenienced" or that they lose their money.
Universities deny AI's 'black-list' claim
The two universities that the deported students were to join were Silicon Valley University at San Jose and North Western Polytechnic College, Fremont, in California. Air India cited a US Customs and Border Protection agency communication, that stated that these universities were under scrutiny. However, the Universities have stated that they are not black-listed by Customs or any other US government entity.
Fake universities in the world
According to a recent study, there are more than twice as many unaccredited universities in the UK as genuine ones, and there are over 300 unaccredited universities in the world.
Fake university scams in the past
In 2011, the Tri-Valley University, in which 85% of the students were Indian, and North Virginia University, with over 2000 Indian students, were raided and subsequently shut down. The universities were closed for illegal immigration practices. In 2012, the US shut the Herguan University in San Francisco, which had 94% Indian students for conducting "large scale" visa fraud.
Detention, jail and interrogation
In the 2011 and 2012 cases, US authorities faced severe criticism for the harsh treatment meted out to students. Students were subjected to criminal-like treatment, being detained in jails and being interrogated by federal officers for hours. Reports indicated that only a handful students were allowed to transfer to other universities, while the others were denied transfers. Several students voluntarily returned to India.