With duped Indian students of a 'sham' university frantically
looking for alternatives to avoid deportation back home, the
Indian missions here have set up helplines to guide them through
the legal process.
Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University (TVU), 90 percent of
them from India, mostly Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of
deportation following the closure of the university in Pleasanton,
California, on charges of selling student visas.
A number of students have already been interviewed by Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, most have been questioned
and released but a few have been required to wear anklet tags to
monitor their movments. Many others have been detained and
released on bond.
To remain in the US, they must get admission in another school,
but with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
of the Department of Homeland Security, a web-based programme to
track foreign students, closed for them, it's proving a hard job.
The embassy of India here in a notice on its website said it has
taken up with the US State Department the issue of Tri-Valley
University, so as to ensure that Indian students are not subjected
to any kind of discrimination or victimisation.
The embassy along with the consulate general in San Francisco have
set up a dedicated e-mail address to enable the affected students
to communicate and seek guidance from the Indian authorities.
Students in the consular jurisdiction of the embassy and the
consulate general of India in New York may also separately
contact: (i) email@example.com; (ii) firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Francisco consulate said it is taking up the matter with
concerned authorities to find out how the affected students can be
helped so that they can seek admissions in other universities or
can go back honourably to India.
The ICE is expected to bring out a detailed advisory for all
students of Tri-Valley University sometime next week which will be
available on its website, it said.
ICE will provide guidance to eligible students regarding what they
can do to seek admission in other schools, but there will be no
blanket reactivation SEVIS. It will be done on a case by case
basis, the consulate said.
ICE has also suggested that all students of TVU, wherever they
are, should report to the nearest ICE office for instructions.
Eligible students will also have the option of seeking voluntary
deportation after which they can again apply to other schools in
Those students who are presently in India with TVU sponsored visas
should not travel to the US, the consulate advised. They can apply
to other universities and, if admitted, can apply for new visas.
ICE has advised that students thoroughly research the credentials
of a university before applying for admission. They must ensure
that the university is not only accredited at the Federal but also
at the State level.
For California, students can call California Department of
Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Private and Post Secondary Education
at 1 (888) 370-7589 to find out about the accreditation status of
Since TVU was not accredited by the above department, its credits
cannot be used for transfer to other universities, the consulate
said. They will need to seek admissions afresh.
For students who came to the US very recently or transferred from
other accredited universities to TVU or had lawful status in the
US (for example H4) and are now holding F1 visas sponsored by TVU,
should present their cases to ICE.
Those students who are found by ICE not to be in violation of any
visa or immigration laws are most likely to be given opportunity
to adjust their status.
The consulate also provided a link to help students find the free
immigration legal service providers in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Some of these attorneys may even agree to accompany the students
when they report to the ICE. This might be helpful, it said.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)