Harassment and embarrassment awaited more students who had secured admission to the two - reportedly 'blacklisted' - colleges in California. On 21 December, 30 students who had landed in San Francisco with valid visas were put on a flight back to India and deported. A couple of days later, Air India stopped 14 students from boarding their flight to the US, as the students had signed up for the same colleges - Silicon Valley University at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University at Fremont. Etihad Airways followed suit and prevented 20 Indian students from boarding their flight to US as they too were headed to the same colleges. Both airlines said that they had received communication from the US Customs and Border Protection to not allow students headed to the said colleges to board their flights.
Another group of students were deported from Abu Dhabi, after they landed there for their US pre-clearance (immigration).
Now, the students deported from Abu Dhabi has alleged that they were publicly humiliated, asked irrelevant questions and then bundled off back to India by the US officials. Not just that, the students, who possessed valid visas, were also locked up for 16 hours like criminals before their visas were cancelled and they were deported.
A report on The Times Of India says officials asked the students questions like, 'have you been drinking?', 'what was the colour of the air hostess' dress' etc while interrogation.
The Silicon Valley University denied being blacklisted.
US Customs and Border Protection officials also made the students read and sign a questionnaire, which incidentally, didn't have all the disturbing questions they were asked off record.
The report quoted a student as saying, "Strangely, the US authorities offered us no reason for cancelling our visas. In fact, they forced us to sign a document which stated that we were voluntarily giving up our offer of admission from the US varsity."
The declaration that they were forced to sign, read: "I understand that my admissibility is questioned for the above reasons (no reasons cited), which I have read or have been read out to me in the English language. I request that I be permitted to withdraw my application for admission and return abroad. I understand that my voluntary withdrawal of my application for admission is in lieu of a formal determination concerning my admissibility".
NPU has defended its credibility too.
In the wake of this mass deportation of students and cancellation of visas, the US embassy in New Delhi said they were tracking the developments and were in the process of collecting relevant data about the deportation of the students from San Francisco. They said that they were constantly in touch with Homeland Security and were very concerned about the developments. However, they added that, "Even travellers with a visa can be denied entry if the immigration officer finds reason to question the legitimacy of their travel documents or finds that the traveller cannot adequately answer questions about the purpose of his or her travel to the United States".
One of the universities - Silicon Valley University - defended its credibility and said that it was not blacklisted by the US authorities. They even alleged that the news of them being blacklisted were 'rumours' concocted by the Indian media.
The SVU website states: "Due to the fact that there were some new SVU students being removed or deported back to India because they were not able to answer the questions adequately to the satisfaction of the inspectors at the port of entry, there were rumors reported by the media in India stating that SVU is being targeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In reality, CBP is just implementing stricter screening security measures, which are not specific to SVU students, but to all international students entering the U.S. International students must understand that F-1 VISA can only be used for studying in the U.S. and cannot be used for any other purpose."
Northwestern Polytechnic University also denied being blacklisted. "As 'definitive proof that NPU is NOT blacklisted,' it provided 'evidence of a sample of new students that continue to enter the US with F-1 visas with NPU as the designated school'," reports The Economic Times.
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