US Working on Plight of Tri-Valley Students

Washington, Oct 27 (IANS): The United States has assured India that it was "continuing to work" on the issue of hundreds of Indian students affected by the "horrible visa scam" by California based "sham" Tri-Valley University. Some 85 percent of over 1500 TVU students were Indian, mostly from Andhra Pradesh.

US authorities are reviewing a letter sent by the Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that the cases of Indian students should be viewed in a "fair and reasonable manner," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Wednesday,

"She has (received), and we are reviewing that letter, and we intend to answer it," she said when asked if the treatment meted out to some of the Indian students affected by the closure of the university was justified.

"We had a pretty horrible visa scam, where a fake university petitioned and got visas for a bunch of students to come over and then actually turned out not to be a real educational institution," Nuland said.

"So we did take action, federal authorities closed down Tri-Valley University on January 11th, and we've also been working very hard, as we have told Indian authorities, to try to find other places in the US for these students who got scammed," she said.

As of Oct 19, 435 of the 1,500 former Tri-Valley University students were approved to be processed for transfer to other universities, she said. "And of the remaining cases, some students we're not going to be able place, but we're continuing to work on this issue."

Asked about the role of State Department officials in issue of visas to the students of the sham university, the official said: "Well, we issue visas on the basis of documentation that we get from institutions in the United States.

"So when we became aware of this, we turned it over for judicial review, and as I said, this scamming institution has now been closed down by US justice authorities."

The State Department in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and US Citizenship and Immigration Service, Nuland said, all "were involved in the busting of this group."

TVU president Susan Xiao-Ping Su, 41, was indicted in May by a federal grand jury on allegations of visa fraud and money laundering to the tune of $3.2 million by issuing visa-related documents to students in exchange for "tuition and fees".


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