SVU
Two US Universities from where Indian students were deported are still certified, says US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Picture: Silicon Valley University, one of the two universities that had been allegedly "blacklisted".Youtube Screengrab

A statement from the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) saying that the two universities — Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic College — are "still certified" has added to the confusion regarding why Indian students have been deported or stopped from going to these two universities.

"Both Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic College are still certified by SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) to enrol international students," HT quoted the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as saying in a statement.

"US customs and border protection can deny entry to anyone attempting to enter the US based on a variety of factors," it added about the deportation.

Recently, 14 Indian students were deported from the two California-based universities, while 19 were stopped from boarding a US-bound Air India flight. On 23 December, 20 more students of the two "blacklisted" universities were barred from boarding an Etihad airlines flight going to the US. And, an unknown number of students travelling to the US via Abu Dhabi have been stopped by the US immigration officers there.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which has taken up the issue "strongly" with Washington, has asked the students bound for the two universities to delay their journey until the matter is clarified.

"We have asked the US authorities to explain the reasons for denial of entry on a large scale to Indian students holding valid visas. The response of the US government is awaited," said the External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday.

"There appears to a massive glitch in the US system," said an official, adding that there have been no issues from the Indian side.

"If these students were issued visas by the US on I-20 forms issued by these universities, why are they being punished?" HT quoted the official as asking. "Someone on their side has erred."