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IMMIGRATION NEWS BRIEFS

By: Humera Shubhani Email By: Humera Shubhani
March 2011
IMMIGRATION NEWS BRIEFS

As Khabar readers may know, Tri-Valley University in California was raided by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for being a “sham” university used for alleged immigration fraud. Since most of the affected students were Indian, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now meeting with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to discuss the plight of the Indian students caught in the Tri-Valley University visa fraud and to try to get the issue resolved.

TVU officials allegedly provided fraudulent documents and information to gain approval under the Department of Homeland Security’s program for international students called the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Approval under the SEVP program permits a college or university to admit foreign students and to issue I-20 forms, which serve as the basis for obtaining or extending F-1 foreign student status.

The TVU approval was more complicated than for most other colleges and universities. TVU is not a properly accredited secondary institution. Thus, for TVU to gain SEVP approval, it was required to provide proof that at least three accredited colleges and/or universities would accept credits earned by TVU students seeking to transfer schools. In support of this requirement, TVU allegedly submitted three “articulation” agreements from accredited colleges, indicating that those colleges would accept TVU credits for transferring students. ICE investigators allegedly determined that at least two of these articulation agreements were fraudulent and that the colleges named would not accept TVU transfer credits, nor had they ever done so.

Also, in the complaint, the U.S government alleges that TVU officials falsely reported that students were attending classes when, in specific instances, they were not actually attending classes or had, in fact, never attended classes at TVU. Under the requirements of the SEVP program, school officials are required to update the computerized database known as SEVIS when an F-1 student ceases attending classes or fails to report for classes initially.

Another allegation against TVU involves a referral network. It is alleged that TVU had a referral program for its students, described in the complaint as a “pyramid scheme.” Allegedly, students at TVU received 20 percent of the tuition payments from any student that they referred to the school. They also, in turn, would receive five percent of the tuition payment for any student whom the “referred” student later referred to TVU. At this time, ICE has advised students to call the SEVP Response Center (SRC) at 703-603-3400 to discuss status and options.

USCIS to Issue Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Card for Adjustment of Status Applicants
USCIS has announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This new card represents a significant improvement from the current practice of issuing paper Advance Parole documents.

The card looks similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but will include text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. The new card is also more secure and more durable than the current paper Advance Parole document.   

Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Programs and Scams
There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. government have sought money in order to “complete” lottery entry forms. Also, many people have received e-mails claiming that they have won the Diversity Visa Lottery, even if they are nationals of ineligible countries. The Department of State has issued a warning regarding these scams. If any e-mail asks the applicant to send funds to secure a visa number, etc. it is not from a valid sender. Only e-mails from .gov should be considered as reliable.

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