No early end to woes of TVU students in sight

Betwa Sharma

New York, Feb 13 (PTI) Three weeks after they lost theirvisa status to be in the US, more than 1,000 Indian studentsfrom the Tri Valley University (TVU) are in for a "long haul"though the Indian Government has raised the issue at thehighest level.

Many of the students from the California-based TVU, whichhas been shut down on charges of massive visa fraud, said theyare stuck here without any concrete plan to get out of theirdilemma.

Noting that the situation was very complex, SusmitaGongulee Thomas, the Consul General of the Indian Consulate inSan Francisco said the students of the TVU, were in for a"long haul".

"It is not going to happen and closure will happen in 2or 3 months. I feel, definitely it would be much longer thanthat may be 6 or 7 months or 8 months", she said.

But definitely there is a lot of hope and a lot ofstudents whom we can possibly help to reinstate themselves andto get back to studies," Thomas said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity a student said, "Wedon''t know what to do. We want to get our visa status back andremain in the country. We have spent too much of our parents�money to go back".

Around 30 of these students met Foreign Minister S MKrishna today in New York to seek government assistance.

Krishna said that India was pushing the US on two fronts�the first to "safeguard the interest of the affected students"and second to "inquire into the dubious status of theuniversity and bringing to book those responsible forperpetuating the scam".

"We have taken it up with authorities in the US at thehighest level," he said.

According to a federal complaint filed in a Californiacourt in January, the University helped foreign nationalsillegally acquire immigration status. The university is saidto have 1,555 students. As many as 95 per cent of thesestudents are Indian nationals, the complaint said.

Investigations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) have found that while students were admitted to variousresidential and on-line courses of the university and on paperlived in California, but in reality they "illegally" worked invarious parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia,Pennsylvania and Texas.

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