Time running out for duped TVU students

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 30 (PTI) Hundreds of Indian students,duped by a California-based "sham" university, are franticallyknocking at the doors of colleges begging for admission intheir desperate attempt to save their academic careers andavoid deportation back home.

These students, said to be around 1,500, were studyingat the California-based Tri Valley University, which was shutdown by the federal authorities last week after investigationrevealed that this relatively new academic institution hadindulged in massive and wire fraud and helped foreignnationals illegally acquire immigration status.

Following a raid at the University building inPleasanton, California, federal authorities swooped down onits students � 95 per cent of who are from India, mostly fromAndhra Pradesh � for questioning and interrogation.

Immigration attorneys and Indian American communityleaders who have been helping these students told PTI thatscores of them have been a detained, released on bond, andmany of them have been installed with Intensive SupervisionAppearance Program (radio tags).

"Time is fast running out for these students," saidRam Mohan Konda of the American Telugu Association.

"These students do not know where to go. They arebeing asked for thousands of dollars in bond and. At the sametime they have to join any university as soon as possible soas to maintain their visa status and complete their studies,"Konda said.

Konda, who has been in personal contact with a numberof these students, said that they are not able to get anyfresh admission because the SEVIS has been blocked.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System(SEVIS) of the Department of Homeland Security is the webbased programme to track the foreign students in the US.

Until it is active, no university and academicinstitution can admit any foreign students to their campus.

Also since the fall classes have already begun, itwould be difficult for these students to get admission intoany college or universities after a week or so, Konda said,adding that authorities have to act fast otherwise most ofthese students would be left with no other option but to goback voluntarily or be deported.

In some cases students are being asked for bonddeposits running into thousands of dollars and a large numberof them have been served with Notice to Appear (which isconsidered as the first step towards the start of deportationprocess).

Raj Akula, a Texas-based attorney, said that he knowsat least 20 such students who have been subject to detention.

While many of them have been released on bail, a fewof them are still in the detention centres as they have notbeen able to furnish the bond money.

These students are spread across the country -- Ohio,Illinois, Washington and Pennsylvania.

One of the students was released early this week froma Ohio detention centre only after he furnished a bond of aUSD 22,000, Akola said refraining from identifying thestudent, who do not want to be named in the press. (more) PTILKJ

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