American fake university row: Bride-to-be dumped by friend after she was deported

HYDERABAD: The rings had been exchanged; the trousseau packed; the fairy tale scripted. On a bright February morning in Hyderabad, Sujatha would marry the man of her dreams and fly away into the little bubble that they had built together in the US, over the last five years.

But this perfect narrative took a cruel turn on January 7, when the young bride-to-be landed at the Newark airport only to be met by a bunch of US Customs and Border Protection officers. They whisked her away into a cramped interrogation room, found University of Farmington documents in her luggage, and 10 hours later pronounced her fate: go back to India now and do not return for five years.

Sujatha had just returned to the US after a short break to finish her wedding shopping.

Three days and multiple rounds of scrutiny later – at Dubai and Hyderabad airports -- she was back home in India, but only to be dealt the biggest blow of her life. Her boyfriend-turned-fiancée had called off the engagement. Still in the US with a respectable job, Sai* wasn’t sure if a long-distance relationship would work. Also, he had aged parents to support. So, returning to India, only to marry Sujatha wasn’t an option.

“Ever since, she has been shattered. She’s locked herself up in the house and isn’t speaking to anyone. That people in the family’s social circles are only talking about the two of them, has only made things more difficult for her parents and her,” said a shattered uncle, Srinivas* reiterating the horrific experience that the girl went through during those days in January.

While the papers that Sujatha signed before being deported (copies of which are with TOI) indicates that she voluntarily admitted to having committed a “F1 visa fraud” and agreed to be “removed from the United States under the Expedited Removal provision”, her uncle says that she knew nothing about it until she landed in the city. “It was only at the Hyderabad airport that this 10-page document was handed over to her. In Newark Sujatha was just instructed to sign them without asking questions,” he claimed, adding, “Once she saw the papers, she also realised that she had been barred from re-entering the US for a period of five years.”

(All names changed)