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US: fake univ busted, students face deportati

IANS
Jan 27, 2011 at 11:13am IST

Washington: The future of over 1000 Indian students is in jeopardy as US authorities raid a university involved in money laundering in California.

Government sources said that the MEA has asked for a report on the immigration row involving hundreds of Indian students at a San Francisco university.

Sources have also said that the government plans to monitor investigations by the US authorities. The US government will take a decision to deport Indian students from Andhra Pradesh - after authorities raided and shut down a university in the Silicon valley on charges of immigration fraud.

US: fake univ busted, students face deportation

The university was charged with helping foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status.

The Tri-Valley University located in suburban San Francisco has around 1,500 students with as many as 95 per cent of them being Indians.

US authorities have charged the university for fraud, misusing visa permits and indulging in money-laundering.

The university allegedly helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. Several of them have been interrogated, creating a panic reaction among the Indian student community.

The Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a suburb in San Francisco Bay Area, was raided on Tuesday.

A complaint filed by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) against the "sham" university alleged that the school's founder and president, Susan Xiao-Ping Su, was using the school to issue a US visa to any foreign national willing to pay for it.

The complaint states: "Since its inception ... Tri-Valley University has been a sham university, which Su, and others, have used to facilitate foreign nationals in illegally acquiring student immigration status that authorises them to remain in the US."

The immigration investigation began in May 2010, after it was noticed that the school applied for an excessive number of US student visas when compared to the previous year.

In February 2009, Tri-Valley University was approved to issue visas and by May of that year, 11 students were issued a US visa to study. However, by May 2010, a total of 939 students were issued visas to study at the school.

Over 95 per cent of the students were from India, and the school allegedly gave the same apartment's address for over half of them.

The apartment manager reportedly told ICE officials he only had four university students ever living there and that was only from June 2007 to August 2009. He said he has had none since.

Classes were scheduled to start again on January 10, once the winter break was over, but that has not happened.

ICE found that while students were admitted to various residential and online courses of the university and, on paper, they lived in California, in reality they illegally worked in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas.

For a student to maintain an active immigration status, they must show proof that they are making reasonable progress towards completing course work and physically attend classes.

Federal authorities are now sweeping out for all those students, who paid lakhs of rupees for obtaining student visas and also student work permits.

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