Clinton to meet FS, Ambassador Meera Shankar tomorrow

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 14 (PTI) US Secretary of State HillaryClinton will meet the Indian Foreign Secretary and Ambassadortomorrow to discuss the plight of Indian students followingthe Tri-Valley University scam, after External AffairsMinister S M Krishna took up the issue with her.

Clinton, who had a telephonic conversation withKrishna yesterday, will be briefed further on the issue byForeign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Indian envoy Meera Shankar.

The two top Indian diplomats are expected to convey toClinton the plight of the Indian students and the need forthem to continue with their studies at another university inthe US after the closer of the Tri-Valley University inCalifornia on charges of visa fraud.

State Department spokesman P J Crowley said the twocountries "would continue to work together regarding asolution" to the Tri Valley University students.

In a statement, the Indian Embassy here said Krishna,in his telephonic conversation with Clinton on February 13,inter alia raised the plight of the Indian students who wereregistered with the dubious University and sought her personalintervention in the matter with a view to ensuring that theinterests of the students are protected and their future isnot jeopardised.

Indian Ambassador Shankar had earlier raised thisissue with the Director of the US Immigration and CustomsEnforcement (ICE) emphasising that innocent students shouldnot suffer and had been assured that US authorities wouldhandle this with good judgement and common sense.

The problem had also been raised with the StateDepartment and the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to these efforts, ICE had put upguidelines on January 28th and February 8th for the Tri-Valleystudents on its website.

The affected students have been advised to call theStudent Exchange Visitors Programme (SEVP) and provide theirspecific details.

The website also indicates that SEVP will provideoptions to the students, including the option to depart fromthe United States without an otherwise possibly applicable barto re-admission in the future.

ICE has said that the students who contact SEVPrepresentatives will be advised that they have three options.

First is to report to the ICE to be processed for voluntarydeparture from the United States, an option that allows themto leave under their own power on a day of their choosing, toremain in the United States without fear of being arrestedwhile waiting to depart, and keeps their immigration historyclean.

The second option is to depart the United States ontheir own while and third is to file for reinstatement with USCitizenship and Immigration Services.

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