17 February 2011

US Embassy justifies ankle monitors for students under investigation

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India has expressed its concern over students be fitted with ankle monitors because their university in California had been shut down on allegations of US Visa fraud.

In a statement, the US Embassy in New Delhi justified the tagging saying the use of ankle monitors is widespread across the United States and standard procedure for a variety of investigations.

“Tagging does not necessarily imply guilt or suspicion of criminal activity. It allows for freedom of movement and is a positive alternative to confinement during a pending investigation," the statement said.

An estimated 95 per cent of the 1500 students at Tri-Valley University in California are reportedly from India, most of them from Andhra Pradesh.

The college was shut down by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this year because of alleged US Visa and immigration fraud to allow non-genuine students into the country.

ICE allege students were attending classes online, that many had never visited the campus and were living in different states where they were also working illegally.

“Visa fraud is not a victimless crime, and fraud agents and fake document vendors target some of the most vulnerable and impoverished members of Indian society... victims of fraud do have access to a variety of federal and state resources in the United States - at minimum, each US state has victims' assistance units to aid victims of crime," said the embassy.

The Embassy has reassured that a legitimate student who is a fraud victim should have little trouble re-applying and enrolling in a different, fully-accredited educational organization. 


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