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Church slams US for tagging Indians

Authorities treating students like animals after immigration raid on university

January 31, 2011

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference in India (CBCI) has criticized the US for electronically tagging Indian students, following a raid on a California university.

The students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh in southern India, were forced to wear electronic tags so US authorities could keep track of their movements.

All were enrolled at Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, California, which the authorities have shut down amid allegations of a massive immigration fraud.

“Our children should not be punished. It is the responsibility of the US government to treat our children with dignity. They are not animals,” said Father Kuriala Chittattukalam, secretary of the CBCI commission for education and culture.

The Salesian priest said the US government should make sure the students complete their studies.

“The university should be taken to task and not our children,” he added.According to media reports, a federal complaint recently filed in a California court accused the university of helping foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status.

The students reportedly paid large sums of money to obtain a visa and a permit to work in the United States.

Investigations by Immigration and Customs officials discovered that while students were enrolled on various university residential and on-line courses and on paper lived in California, in reality they were “illegally” working in various parts of the country.

Meanwhile, India’s foreign ministry has lodged a protest with US authorities over the way the stranded students are being treated and promised to help them.

Father Chittattukalam said that the government needs to do more on this issue so that “our students do not get traumatized.”

“This is not enough,” he added.



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