Indian students in US radio-tagged; angry govt says remove it Read more: Indian stud

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by nrj, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    More than a dozen Indian students from among hundreds who have been scammed by a dodgy university in California have been radio tagged with tracking devices in an action New Delhi described as "unwarranted," and asked to be removed even as angry community activists said it is a violation of their rights and dignity.

    Authorities from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who interrogated scores of Indian students who were evidently conned by the sham Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, California, left radio tracking devices on the ankles of several victims. The students said officials told them the devices, fitted with GPS technology, were meant to keep track of their movements while the administration examined their cases.

    Scores of Indian students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, are caught up in a scam in which the dubious university allegedly helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. Investigations by U.S authorities found that while students were admitted to residential and on-line courses of the university and on paper lived in California, in reality they worked illegally in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

    The students say they were unaware of the dodgy nature of the university and they were conned. In a petition to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of ICE, the affected students said they registered in the university believing it is a "bonafide and legitimate university that had been registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database."

    SEVIS is a web-based technology maintained by the U.S to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents, while they are legally enrolled in the US education system. Indeed, Tri-Valley University is among the SEVIS Approved Schools listed on the US ICE website. Authorities have since shut down the university.

    But US officials say some of the students obtained their visa fraudulently and others are in violation of their visa and immigration status. Such students have been have been placed under ISAP (Intense Supervision and Appearance Program) by ICE and put in removal proceedings, necessitating radio tagging. Not all students have been tagged.

    Foreign students typically come to U.S under the F-1 visa and are generally not permitted to work except for 20 hours a week or less of on-campus employment.

    "US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing the nation's immigration and customs laws. If ICE encounters individuals during the course of an investigation who are found to be in violation of their immigration status, the agency will take follow-up action consistent with the agency's enforcement priorities," ICE spokesperson Lari Haley said. "Those priorities include persons who've overstayed or violated the terms of their visas, and those who have exploited the nation's legal immigration system by gaining their status through fraud."

    But New Delhi is not happy with students being treated like criminals. Expressing "serious concern," a government spokesman said India has 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."

    The spokesman said students should be given ample opportunity to clarify their position and present their case; those who wish to return to India should be allowed to do so voluntarily; those students who have not violated any visa or immigration laws should be given opportunity to adjust their status; and, those who are eligible to seek transfer to other universities should be given adequate opportunity and time to do so.

    The spokesman said India had also asked the US Government to "provide us full information on the affected students and keep us informed as the investigation unfolds, as well as, on the action being taken against the promoters of the university and others involved in perpetrating the fraud."

    Incidentally, several members of the Union Council of Ministers, including external affairs minister SM Krishna, studied in the US.

    TOI
     
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  3. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    I am sure that majority of these Indian "Students" are actually what USA says they are, FRAUDS. Education must have been the last thing on their mind when they applied for US visa.
     
  4. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    ^^ You cannot see either side, dude. It is possible that there are sham universities around trying to swindle foreign students.
     
  5. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    These students knew that this was shaggy uni. There main motive was to reach USA not to study. They should suffer which will be lesson for another breed ready to come through this channel..
     
  6. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    Indian students in US radio-tagged; angry govt says remove it



    WASHINGTON: More than a dozen Indian students from among hundreds who have been scammed by a dodgy university in California have been radio-tagged with tracking devices in an action New Delhi described as "unwarranted," and asked to be removed even as angry community activists said it is a violation of their rights and dignity.

    Authorities from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who interrogated scores of Indian students who were evidently conned by the sham Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, California, left radio-tracking devices on the ankles of several victims. The students said officials told them the devices, fitted with GPS technology, were meant to keep track of their movements while the administration examined their cases.

    Scores of Indian students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, are caught up in a scam in which the dubious university allegedly helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. Investigations by US authorities found that while students were admitted to residential and on-line courses of the university and on paper lived in California, in reality they worked illegally in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

    The students say they were unaware of the dodgy nature of the university and they were conned. In a petition to the secretary of homeland security and the director of ICE, the affected students said they registered in the university believing it is a "bonafide and legitimate university that had been registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database."

    SEVIS is a web-based technology maintained by the US to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents, while they are legally enrolled in the US education system. Indeed, Tri-Valley University is among the SEVIS Approved Schools listed on the US ICE website. Authorities have since shut down the university.

    But US officials say some of the students obtained their visa fraudulently and others are in violation of their visa and immigration status. Such students have been placed under ISAP (Intense Supervision and Appearance Program) by ICE and put in removal proceedings, necessitating radio-tagging. Not all students have been tagged.

    Foreign students typically come to US under the F-1 visa and are generally not permitted to work except for 20 hours a week or less of on-campus employment.

    "US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing the nation's immigration and customs laws. If ICE encounters individuals during the course of an investigation who are found to be in violation of their immigration status, the agency will take follow-up action consistent with the agency's enforcement priorities," ICE spokesperson Lari Haley said. "Those priorities include persons who've overstayed or violated the terms of their visas, and those who have exploited the nation's legal immigration system by gaining their status through fraud."

    But New Delhi is not happy with students being treated like criminals. Expressing "serious concern," a government spokesman said India has 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."

    The spokesman said students should be given ample opportunity to clarify their position and present their case; those who wish to return to India should be allowed to do so voluntarily; those students who have not violated any visa or immigration laws should be given opportunity to adjust their status; and, those who are eligible to seek transfer to other universities should be given adequate opportunity and time to do so.

    The spokesman said India had also asked the US government to "provide us full information on the affected students and keep us informed as the investigation unfolds, as well as, on the action being taken against the promoters of the university and others involved in perpetrating the fraud."

    On Friday, ICE announced that it had set up an email address and voicemail that Tri-Valley students can use to contact ICE homeland security investigations directly with their questions. Affected students can call the US number 415-844-5320 and leave a voice message and an ICE representative will return the call. Students can also write to [email protected] seeking help.

    Incidentally, several members of the Union Council of Ministers, including external affairs minister SM Krishna, studied in the US.

    Read more: Indian students in US radio-tagged; angry govt says remove it - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...move-it/articleshow/7386322.cms#ixzz1CSSxmOJj
     
  7. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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  8. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    For god sake they knew these were doggy unis. they come to US to settle down not to study. They knew wat they r doing
     
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  9. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    This still doesn't justify putting radio tags on these students !! The US law enforcement uses them keep track on criminals released on parole so that they don't run away. This is inhuman behavior when it is applied to students !
     
  10. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    No student in his right mind would take admission into these dubious universities but still treating them like cattle is not on.

    Agreed.
     
  11. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Tri-valley University in Pleasanton, California. LOL

    I live 30 miles south of the Pleasanton in silicon valley.
    Pleasanton is really a quite pleasant upper middle-class town (a nice bedroom community for people who work in Silicon Valley).
    There isnt a single university within 40 miles of Pleasanton. I doubt if they even have a small community college.

    Its really crazy that in this day and age where you can google just about anything - that these kids did not do their research.
    If you Google it - you may see the University of Phoenix listed in Pleasanton.

    "University of Phoenix" is not a real university. Its a correspondence school that offers degrees thru correspondence.
    Online and correspondence schools are generally considered bullshit schools in the US.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  12. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Its grossly unfair to say only criminals wear tracking devices,dogs in America wear collars embedded with GPS tracking technology which allows owners to track and locate runaway poodles.America perhaps afforded the students a status better than criminals,lets look at the brighter side.The students perhaps will do well of they can imitate certain canine behaviorism and who knows they might have better chance getting a more benign treatment,after all its their fault that they ended up getting duped by enterprising Americans.
     
  13. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    Putting radio tracking devices on criminals, inmates and illegal aliens is something which is not very uncommon/exceptional in USA. These guys were not duped by any logic, they knew exactly what were getting into, and now the whole nation has to suffer the embarrassment.
     
  14. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    I completely agree and dare say those students owe an apology to America for getting themselves duped and in the process also bringing disrepute to America and some of its fake universities,i'll be aghast if the promoters of these schemes are themselves wearing dog collars.
     
  15. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    These students were not duped, some of them actually got themselves transferred into this fake university from real universities, others followed on the footsteps of their predecessors. Around 1,500 Indian students have been "DUPED" by this university, but none of them ever complaint because for all of them this was an "American Dream" come true. The plan was simple, get into the "Land of opportunities" by hook or by crook and start earning greens. These people have embarrassed themselves and India. Let us not throw mud on others to save our own face.
     
  16. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Radio-tagging of Indian students in US 'inhuman': SM Krishna

    Taking strong exception to radio-tagging by US authorities of scores of Indian students duped by a "sham" university in California, India today described it as an "inhuman act" and demanded severe action against those responsible.

    "We demand that the US government initiate severe action against those officials responsible for this inhuman act. Indian students are not criminals. The radio collars should immediately be removed," external affairs minister SM Krishna told reporters in Bangalore.

    The students, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, are facing the prospect of deportation as US authorities last week shut down the Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a major suburb in San Francisco Bay Area, on charges of a massive immigration fraud.

    The university is said to have 1,555 students, and as many as 95% of these students are Indian nationals.

    "The ministry will extend all help to the students. The parents need not worry since the matter has been taken up with appropriate authorities," Krishna said.

    The government will also provide suitable assistance to the affected students if they wished to return home, he said.

    Some of the Indian students, who had landed themselves in the dubious university, were forced to wear radio collars around their ankles to enable the US authorities keep track of their movements.

    The affected students are now frantically knocking at the doors of colleges begging for admission in their desperate attempt to save their academic careers and avoid deportation.

    Following a raid at the university last week, US federal authorities swooped down on its students for questioning and interrogation.

    Immigration attorneys and Indian-American community leaders, who have been helping these students, said that scores of them had been detained and released on bond and many of them installed with intensive supervision appearance programme or radio tags.

    TOI
     
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Duped Indian students ignored red flags


    WASHINGTON: Hundreds of Indian students who have gotten scammed by a dodgy California-based university had it coming. Tri-Valley University (TVU) had a reputation as a "Diploma Mill" that offered a spurious route to employment and immigration in the US. Inquiring students and professionals knew about it, discussed it in immigration forums, and warned others about it.

    But eager beavers looking for a short cut to emigrating to the US through a questionable academic route ignored the red flags. After US authorities busted the scam, an estimated 1500 students, some of them gullible victims, some of them scheming immigrant hopefuls, face financial loss, loss of credits, loss of time, loss of face, and in some cases, even face deportation.

    Here's how the scam unfolded: India, from among all countries, has been sending the maximum number of students to US colleges over the past decade – some 10,000 to 15,000 each year. Most aspiring students try and get into the top 50 schools, which have stringent qualifying standards, including exams such as GRE and GMAT, besides TOEFL, an English proficiency test. The process involves gaining admission on the basis of test scores, in lieu of which the university, if it accredited and complaint with US rules, sends an I-20 document to the accepted student, which he or she presents to the embassy or consulate in the home country to get an F-1 student visa.

    But in recent years, several dodgy universities have come up which waive GRE/GMAT requirements as long as students can pay thousands of dollars up front in the form of various 'fees.' More pertinently, these colleges dubiously facilitate Optical Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT), the two routes to employment at the end of the college degree, from the first day of enrollment.

    Typically, in recognized, well-regarded universities, all students must be enrolled as full-time students for a year before receiving CPT/OPT. For the hundreds of thousands of Indian students who have eventually become US citizens, OPT and CPT are the first steps to employment--based visa (usually H1-B), Green Card , and citizenship, in that order.

    TVU and similar schools had a "well-earned" reputation of shortening the process by offering OPT/CPT from day one – which meant "students" could get on the employment track even as they began "college." In fact, TVU didn't even have a campus in the traditional sense. It had a solitary, sorry-looking building, bought in April 2010, which housed everything from administrative offices to classrooms, from which random lectures were transmitted over the internet to "students" across the US, including those working other jobs. Under current US law, students cannot take only online courses while on an F-1 status, a scam TVU managed to perpetrate.

    Founded by Susan Xiao-Ping Su and run mainly by Chinese Christians, with a few Indians in the "faculty," the school boasted that its mission "is to make Christian scientists, engineers, business leaders and lawyers for the glory of God, with both solid academic professionalism and Christian faith, therefore to live out Christ-like characters, value and compassion in the world, to make an impact and shine as its light."

    If that wasn't enough to set off alarm bells, prospective students could have at least seen the writing on the wall – internet forums -- had they bother to trawl any. In an exchange that began in April 2010, students, both prospective, inquiring ones, and those already committed to TVU, duked it out online about the university and its practices. "Has any one got any experience with Tri-Valley University?" inquired one person on an immigration forum. He had heard they offer "hassle free admission, gre, gmat not mandatory, tofel (sic) is pretty much the only requirement low semester fee, OPT, CPT from the day the course starts. no tests, no mandatory online classes, a perfect way to bypass the visa process!"

    In no time, there were red flags galore. "TVU is NOT accredited, so you can NOT get a degree from them. Any 'degree' they issue is worthless," wrote one forum member on May 19. "If you use a 'degree' from them for any immigration purpose, it would be fraud. You can also NOT use OPT or CPT from them. Any such use would be fraud." Unperturbed, the inquirer wrote back: "the degrees are worthless, but i thought that its enough to get CPT."

    Other immigration forum members, some of them partisans and flaks for TVU, then argued about how if the university was not accredited, it could generate I-20, a document for prospective students that enables them to apply for and get F-1 student visa in their home country. "You are grasping at straws. Probably because you have signed up with them and now have been told that you got scammed. Scamming victims are often in denial...," wrote a user named Jo1234, warning, "I think TVU will eventually get into trouble with authorities...Their "degrees" are worthless. If you try to use them for an H1 or a GC, you would be committing fraud. Spend your money with a real university, not these fraudsters."

    It took till January this year for US authorities to cotton on to the scam – or, to look at it charitably, to put together the manpower for a nationwide crackdown. Although TVU was based in Pleasanton, California, it's 'students' were scattered throughout the country, from the East Coast to Midwest to Deep South. Many of them were illegally employed. Although it was allowed only 30 foreign admissions pending accreditation, TVU had managed to work the system to enroll more than 1500 students. Apparently, there were companies across the US which used TVU's F-1 visa-based CPT/OPT to beat H1-B visa requirements, which regulate salary, insist on not replacing American workers etc.

    On January 19, after raiding TVU, getting student records from the school, and shutting it down, immigration officials began knocking on the doors of TVU students across the country or serving NTAs (notice to appear) asking them to get in touch with the local office. In some cases, officials merely made preliminary inquiries. In others, students were interrogated for up to three hours. Some had their passports taken away, if they declined voluntary departure. And in rare cases, where officials found egregious violation of visa terms or questionable visas, students were shackled with electronic monitoring devices till further inquiries.

    "It was terrifying," said one student who asked not to be named. "Out of the blue, all our dreams came crashing down."

    But while there is the usual outrage and fire-spitting in India over the radio collar issue, it turns out that not all students are as gullible as was initially made out. Speaking on background, community leaders, attorneys, and even some students acknowledged that many people knew the whole process was questionable. One giveaway: According to representatives of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), an estimated 95 per cent of the TVU admissions from India are from Andhra Pradesh, a fact that has prompted TANA to arrange legal representation for the students. "They are young kids whose future will be ruined. They are our people after all. We have to help them," says TANA's Jayaram Komati. According to one student, most victims paid up to $ 2800 per semester to Tri-Valley, some of them paying as much as $ 16,000 up front for a full course to obtain a shady degree.

    The growing sense among officials and even the Indian community is that many students knew what they were getting into but still risked it. "They know what the rules are - problem is, some of them work within the Indian mentality that the rules are made to be avoided and that the government is a nuisance, not a power to be reckoned with," Nandita Ruchandani, a New York-area immigration attorney who has dealt with such cases, told ToI. Still, many attorneys, some of them working pro bono, are offering to help the students. Two attorneys arranged by TANA in the Bay Area are now working on several Tri-Valley cases.

    On Sunday morning TANA arranged for a conference call with immigration attorneys at which more than 200 affected students called in. Among the student gripes, how could the US government undermine the process initiated by a college which it recognized enough to allow it to generate F-1 visas? And if it was a sham university as authorities were now claiming, how and why did the US consulates in India issue the visas?

    Meanwhile, a steamed up Indian government, aghast at the radio tagging of a few students, has sought to free them of the ignominy even as the more gullible victims are wondering whether to return to India or keep a foot in the academic door through an appeals process. "We are in a dilemma ...Many students are afraid to go to immigration officers...they are taking away passports pending investigation, sometimes even for those going for voluntary self-departure," a Minneapolis-based student told ToI.

    The student, who transferred to Tri-Valley from another university, found the Pleasanton school dodgy enough to request a transfer late last year. But she says other schools declined to accept Tri-Valley credits. Stuck in the quagmire, she has gone by the advice of US authorities and phoned into the hotline they have established to provide details of her case. She hasn't heard back from them. It will be a long cold winter for many Indian students in the US.
     
  18. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    So did they accepted only Christians for admission, or were they involved in conversions?
     
  19. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Boss, when you are a fraud you accept only CASH not faith, moreover, a Christian's education will be heavily subsidized by the church in any missionary institute, hence, this sham university would stay away from inducting Christian students. Further, the Church network is so robust, that they will never allow there flock to be duped by these fraudulent Chinese missionaries; Christians have way better options provided by the church!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  20. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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    I don't like the idea of them being radio tagged. however, so the readers understand:: what is the first thing an illegal alien does in any country? these kids knew exactly what this place was. many of them had moved away to other states to work under the table , yet showed this university as their official residence. anyways, first thing anyone illegal does is run away. they don't come back to court to face a judge on another day and hence that is the reason why they get tagged.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  21. JayATL

    JayATL Senior Member Senior Member

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    I maybe completely wrong here and have mis-read you . But do you not follow the philosophy of the Shiv Sena movement?. If you do not, I sincerely apologize, I misread your politics. If I did happen to read you correctly, then how do you justify following a philosophy that is based on favoritism towards one group in India ( exclusive in nature ) and this very inclusive attitude you subtly try to portray on this issue on the US?

    I have said ( above)I don't like the tagging of boys but I try to be reasonable and see what is behind it ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011

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