New Delhi: The United States embassy here on Thursday said it is closely following the situation after a group of Indian students who went abroad to study in two educational institutions in California were deported.
“The embassy is aware of the reports that some students bound for two California schools were denied entry by the Customs and Border Protection. We regret the impact this may have had on certain students and their families,” an embassy statement said.
“We are following this situation closely and have been in regular communication with the Department of Homeland Security as well as the government of India,” it added.
Stating that facts in the matter were being collected, the embassy statement said 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”.
The Customs and Border Protection is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security.
Fourteen Indian students had gone to join the Silicon Valley University at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University at Fremont but were deported by US authorities.
In a statement, national carrier Air India said it received a communication on December 19 from the Customs and Border Protection that the two universities were under scrutiny and the students who arrived in San Francisco were not allowed to enter the US and were deported back to India.
The Indian government has said it has taken up this matter with the US government. The US authorities have been asked to explain the reasons for the denial of entry on a large-scale to Indian students holding valid visas, the government said.
The embassy statement said: “We also remind students considering studying in the United States of the free services provided by Education USA.”
“Education USA’s centres throughout India and its website can assist students in choosing the most appropriate school for their course of study and personal situation,” it added.
According to the statement, as additional information becomes available, the embassy will provide updates to potential travellers.
“We will continue to strongly support educational study and exchange programmes for Indian and US students, as these programmes have been a hallmark of our bilateral relationship for decades,” it added.
In the academic year 2014-15, the number of Indian students studying in the US increased by nearly 30 percent over the previous year to more than 130,000 – the highest number on record.
The Indian government on Wednesday issued an advisory to Indian students desirous of studying in the United States to perform due diligence before joining any institution in that country.