A San Francisco university, which catered mostly to online students, has been called a sham and raided by the US immigration and customs enforcement (ICE), putting in jeopardy the future of many Indians enrolled with it.
Tri-Valley University, in a town called Pleasanton in the Silicon Valley, offers an entire range of courses from philosophy, engineering to ministry. It is owned and run by Susan Su, whose other premises were also raided.
"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 authorises them to remain in the United States," read a complaint filed by the US district attorney's office last Wednesday.
According to reports in the local news media 95% of Tri-Valley's students were from India, half of whom were shown by the university to be living in the same apartment.
The university received its approval to issue visas in February 2009, according to Mercurynews.com, but only for 30 students.
In May 2009, the school had 11 active students who had received F-1 visas. The number shot to 939 by May 2010.
"According to the complaint, Su and Tri-Valley University have made millions of dollars in tuition fees for issuing the visa-related documents, enabling foreign nationals to obtain illegal student immigration status," says Mercurynews.com.
It couldn't be ascertained how many of the Indian students were physically in the US studying at the university or, whether they were enrolled for online classes. But their number could run into hundreds.
The Indian consulate in San Francisco didn't respond to a mail or return calls.