Washington: Hundreds of
Indian students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of
being deported from the US after a "sham" university in California
was shut down for allegedly selling US visa to willing students.
The Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a suburb in San Francisco
Bay Area, was raided Tuesday and charged with helping foreign
nationals illegally acquire immigration status, according to local
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
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 percent 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 Jan 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.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)