India raises issue of sham US varsity students

February 14th, 2011 - 11:02 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 14 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has sought US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal intervention to ensure that the interests of over 1,500 Indian students of a sham California university are protected and their future is not jeopardised.Krishna raised the plight of the Indian students of the dubious Tri Valley University (TVU) in Pleasanton, California that was closed down last month on charges of selling student visas, in a conversation with Clinton over the weekend, the Indian embassy here said.

Some 1,555 students of TVU, 90 percent of them from India, mostly Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of deportation unless they can get admission in another institution to retain their student visa status.

The embassy said it and the various Indian consulates general will continue to be in regular contact with the students and the concerned US authorities with a view to facilitating the resolution of issues.

Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar, who had earlier raised the issue with the Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton to stress that “innocent students” should not suffer, is expected to meet Clinton next week as a follow up to Krishna’s conversation.

Shankar was then assured that the US authorities would handle the issue “with good judgment and common sense”. India has also raised the issue with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to Indian efforts ICE had put up guidelines on Jan 28 and Feb 8 for the Tri-Valley students on their website at http://www.ice.gov/sevisri-valley-110118.htm

Broadly, the affected students have been advised to call the Student Exchange Visitors Programme (SEVP) and provide their specific details.

The website also indicates that SEVP will provide options to the students, including the option to depart from the United States without an otherwise possibly applicable bar to re-admission in the future.

According to ICE, students who contact SEVP representatives will be advised that they have three options:

(i) Report to ICE to be processed for voluntary departure from the United States. This option allows them to leave under their own power on a day of their choosing, to remain in the United States without fear of being arrested while waiting to depart, and keeps their immigration history clean.

(ii) Depart the United States on their own;

(iii) File for re-instatement with US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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