Hundreds of Indian Students Duped by Fake University Face Deportation (via Change.org)

Here is the situation from the Yahoo News article, Feds probe Calif. ‘sham university’ for visa fraud.

The government of India is urging the United States to show leniency toward Indian students who were enrolled at a “sham university” in California that U.S. authorities say was a front for illegal immigration.

The U.S. attorney’s office alleges the owner of Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton used the unaccredited school to charge foreigners millions of dollars in tuition fees and help them obtain student visas to stay in the U.S.

Officials at Tri-Valley did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

There were 1,555 students enrolled at Tri-Valley last fall and about 95 percent of them were from India, according to a complaint filed Jan. 19 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Many of those students, who took Tri-Valley courses online, could be deported if they are found to be in violation of their immigration status.

Okay, these guys were probably duped into enrolling into a money making scheme posing as a college. It’s pretty sad. Now, assume just for a moment that these students were aware in some way that this was a sham. I don’t believe that but let’s assume it for the sake of my next question.

Is this fair? Read on -

Indian officials say the students are being “treated like criminals” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents even though they were issued valid U.S. visas by American consular officials in India.

“I don’t think any of them had any idea this was a sham university,” said Susmita Gongulee Thomas, consul general of India in San Francisco. “I don’t think any of them had the motivation to defraud any rules of the U.S. government … These students came here genuinely to improve their prospects and they should not be criminalized or victimized.”

Students told Indian consulate officials that they were searched, treated rudely and handcuffed before being taken into immigration offices for questioning, Thomas said.

Many have been forced to wear ankle bracelets to track their movements with radio frequency signals, and they must report to immigration officials regularly while they go through deportation proceedings, Gongulee Thomas said.

I’ve had people put in ankle bracelets. Those things are pretty demeaning and easy to spot. I recommended those individuals be put in ankle bracelets because they were flight risks.

These citizens of India came here looking for an education or to work at a job. Doing either one requires having a verifiable identity.

This is from Change.org

Currently, the students from Tri-Valley have their SEVIS information blocked by DHS without which they cannot seek transfers or admissions to other universities and the students are under electronic surveillance. India has already demanded that the students be treated fairly and expressed concern. The Ministry of External Affairs stated that “we have conveyed to the US authorities that the students, most of who are victims themselves, must be treated fairly and reasonably, and that the use of monitors on a group of students, who were detained and later released with monitors in accordance with US laws, is unwarranted and should be removed.”

Help these students stay in the United States to complete their education. In my experience there are a great number of schools in this country designed to extract the maximum amount of money for the least educational value. Considering the number of these schools, I think it would be wise to give these students the benefit of the doubt.

There is an online petition here. I doubt that the petition will get them released, the fear of foreigners in the United States being at all time high. But maybe they will reconsider things like the ankle bracelets and other objectionable treatment.

If you’ve liked the things I’ve written I would appreciate the assistance. Okay?

James Pilant

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