Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Tri Valley University Students
Dear Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,
We are pleased to hear that you’ve given Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna your assurance that you will help all the Indian students affected by the recent closure of Tri-Valley University. We feel that your assurance of support is consistent with your fair approach to immigration matters in the United States. This is especially pertinent as immigration continues to be a heated issue in domestic politics while issues like SB1070 further polarize our nation. As you know, Immigration and Customs Enforcements agents raided Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, California, for issuing invalid visas to hundreds of international students. The U.S. attorney’s office alleges the owner of Tri-Valley University, in Pleasanton California, used the unaccredited school to collectively charge foreigners millions of dollars in tuition fees, and help them obtain student visas to stay in the U.S. Nonetheless, despite the fact that these students are victims of fraud, ICE is treating them as co-conspirators in this massive crime.
At the moment, many of the students who took Tri-Valley University courses risk being deported if they are found to be in violation of their immigration status. This is despite the fact that they were issued valid U.S. visas by American consular officials. In our consultations with hundreds of Tri Valley students, we could only conclude that most of those students were duped. Our online petition to support the students is now 760 signatures strong (See www.peerallylaw.com) and clearly shows that many believe that the students deserve support.
The stories we’ve heard are of students who were simply engaged in the furtherance of their education, with no knowledge whatsoever of the fraudulent nature of the school they were attending. All of them assumed that their Visas were valid as they were approved by the government of the United States.
These students deserve better than to be thrown out of the country for being victims of fraud. Many of these students invested the next few years of their life in the United States when they obtained their student visas to study at Tri-Valley University and in doing so gave up other options in their home countries. The least we ask is that clemency be provided to these students so that they may be permitted to depart the United States without repercussion or, if eligible, be permitted to obtain a change of status or transfer to another school. Treating these students like criminals and throwing them out of the country due to no act of their own is not only a great injustice but will send a very negative message to the people of one the largest Democracy in the world.
Shah Peerally, Esq