The media and the authorities have been focusing on the fate of the Tri Valley University (TVU) students. In fact, many even believe they are “guilty”, yet nobody has questioned the wrongdoing of TVU as a university. A close look at the website shows that TVU, presented itself as a “decent” university which until now is listed a a “good” school to issue form I-20s and ultimately student visas.
This fact has been bothering me for a while. I was wondering why is it that Susan Su (head of TVU) and TVU are getting a free ride. To this end I asked few of my criminal defense attorney friends to analyze the situation from a criminal law perspective, more precisely from a prosecutor’s point of view. My friend lawyer Michael Ross has nicely agreed to write a piece on the matter. I think TVU students should read it and pass it around to all their friends, families and any members of the media. Please send an email to Michael Ross on email@example.com or call him on 415 345 1335 to thank him. Support from attorneys like Michael are essential to the cause of TVU students.
Here is Micahael Ross’s answer:
What do you have when the wrong people are being targeted by the federal government? What happens when the victims of a crime either get prosecuted and/or have to face removal proceedings, and the real perpetrator walks away without getting so much as getting her hair mussed? You have a situation like the Tri-Valley University (TVU) scandal, that’s what.
As a criminal defense attorney, and a former special prosecutor, I took an immediate interest in the TVU matter. As with all cases that I accept, I tried to look at the TVU case both from a defense lawyer’s and a prosecutor’s point of view. My conclusion? The wrong people are being targeted, namely, the TVU students who, for the most part, appear to be acting in good faith and engaged in vigorous academic study. Indeed, the federal government appears to being pandering to the current national pandemic of xenophobic, anti-immigration sentiment that unfortunately does exist in the hearts of many ill-informed Americans.
The federal government has labeled TVU as a “sham university,” with its students, mostly from India, painted as the evildoers who have subverted the educational Visa system. Some of the students claim, with good reason in my opinion, that they have been treated “like dogs” by federal investigators. Some have even have been forced to wear GPS ankle cuffs – even when no charges have been brought against that person.
What bothers me, and, I respectfully submit, should also bother federal immigration and criminal prosecution attorneys, is that the TVU administration has apparently been given a de facto immunity in exchange for its cooperation with the feds. The so-called forfeiture proceedings against the “assets” of TVU, mostly virtual as they are, is a meaningless diverting maneuver from punishing the real wrong-doers in this mess. As Charles Dickens once wrote, “If the law think this, then the law is an ass.”
What would I do if I were in charge of the federal case against the TVU students? Instead of harrassing those who have been victimized and are now being investigated, I would craft a criminal complaint charging TVU Dean Susan Su and her board of directors with the colossal fraud in gulling hundreds of well-meaning Indian students into enrolling in, and following the procedural rules of, TVU. Add on a count for wholesale conspiracy to undermine the immigration laws of the United States, at the expense of the students who have paid so much to get into TVU, and who may now pay an even higher penalty of being removed from our country.
We are a nation of immigrants, and I as an American am very proud of that fact. However, the persecution of those visitors to the United States who merely fell victim to a major white-collar crime stands the entire legal system of our country on its head, and if pursued ti this end, may result in an irremediable perversion of justice and immutable blot on our history as a nation.
Michael Ross is a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, and a former Special Prosecutor. Mr. Ross has handled over five thousand criminal cases, including a death penalty case. scores of “Three Strikes” cases, and felony and misdemeanor cases of every type. Further biographical and professional information is available at www.mikerosslaw.com.