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Jan 29, 2011 at 08:48pm IST

US opens helpline for 'sham' varsity students

Washington: The US authorities have opened a helpline for the Indian students of a 'sham' university in California, while asking some of them to wear radio trackers around their ankles as the case proceeds.

Some 1,555 students of Tri-Valley University, 95 per cent of them from India, mostly Andhra Pradesh face the prospect of deportation following the closure of Tri Valley University in Pleasanton on charges of selling student visas.

"We have set up an email address and voicemail that Tri-Valley students can use to contact ICE Homeland Security Investigations directly with their questions," Lari K. Haley, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson said.

US opens helpline for 'sham' varsity students

US asked some students to wear radio trackers around their ankles as the case proceeds.

Haley said any affected student can call the US number 415-844-5320 and leave a voice message. An ICE representative will return the call. Students can also write to 'SFRHSIFraud@dhs.gov', seeking help.

Meanwhile, some students who approached ICE have been placed under ISAP (Intense Supervision and Appearance Programme) and put in removal proceedings.

A number of students have already been interviewed by ICE agents, most have been questioned and released, according to Jayaram Komati of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). But he said a few have been required to wear ankle bracelets.

Komati also advised students attending Tri-Valley University to seek immigration advice from an immigration attorney.

On January 20, ICE agents raided the Tri-Valley University and executed search warrants at three other properties owned by school founder Susan Su.

A day earlier, the US Attorney General's Office filed a civil complaint against Su, claiming she was part of a scheme to defraud, using false statements and misrepresentations to the department of Homeland Security.

The complaint says Su had made millions of dollars in tuition fees for issuing visa-related documents that enabled foreign nationals to obtain illegal student immigration status.

School offices are closed and classes that were to begin after the holidays have not started.

Students, who pay about $2,700 per semester, have been left uncertain about their immigration status and future education options. The majority of the school's classes are done online.

ICE officials could not comment on the case, stating the only information available was what was available in the civil complaint filed January 19.

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