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 on Tuesday and reportedly charged with helping foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status. 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 authorizes them to remain in the US.” 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 on January 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.
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