US justifies ankle monitors for 'Sham University' students

New Delhi: India has expressed its concern over students being radio-tagged because their university in California had been shut down on allegations of "visa fraud," but today, the American Embassy in New Delhi justified the tagging.

"Use of ankle monitors is widespread across the United States and standard procedure for a variety of investigations, and 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," said an official statement from the Embassy. (Read: US statement on students at Tri-Valley)

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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for operating as a cover for a large immigration racket.

Students were attending classes online. Many had never visited the campus and were living in different states where they were also working illegally. However, Tri-Valley is listed as an accredited university on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System of the Department of Homeland Security.

"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 U.S. state has victims' assistance units to aid victims of crime," said the embassy.

The US states that students who want to continue college in America have some options. The Embassy states, "A legitimate student who is a fraud victim should have little trouble re-applying and enrolling in a different, fully-accredited educational organization. If fraud victims choose to return to India first and apply for a new student visa, they will be treated the same as any other applicant."