In anticipation any human rights violations or mishandling of the TVU issues by any government department, Shah Peerally Law Group PC is compiling the stories of TVU students. You can email us your story on firstname.lastname@example.org , we will redact it and post it on this page. Thank you, please do not forget to ask family and friends to sign the petition online on www.peerallylaw.com
I was visited by three ICE officials yesterday at my home. Upon entering the house, they asked me my name and my university, after which they instructed me to come with them so as to answer a few questions. I said I would like to speak to a lawyer, which they agreed to, but they also pointed out that I have no choice but to come with them right away, as I was ‘out of status’. I spoke to my lawyer on the way, who gave me instructions on what I should be doing. My lawyer also talked to the ICE officer accompanying me, and told him that I have already procured an admission with another school, and that I’m just waiting for SEVIS to release my ID so that I can get my new I-20. The officer told my lawyer that he would talk to his supervisor regarding this matter, and do the needful, but also stated that the reason for this ICE visit was to issue an NTA. After I reached ICE, they asked me a series of questions regarding the university, about my classes and instructors, about whether I knew Susan Su, whether I talked to her, have I helped anyone else get any admissions there, etc. A bulk of the questions were about CPT/OPT, which I did not need to answer, because I hadn’t applied for it. After this, they took a couple of fingerprints, and then called on his supervisor, who came into the room, and asked me details regarding my new admission. He then said that he is not going to forward the NTA to the judge – he is going to keep this file on their desk, with the clause that said ‘on a date and time to be set later’. In the meantime, I can contact my new school, get a new I-20 as soon as it is available, and inform them of the same. He said the moment they get to see a new I-20, they will cancel my NTA file. They also said that in order for them to move forward the NTA, they have to let me know beforehand, so they will not do anything behind my back. I asked them a series if questions regarding when SEVIS is expected to release the IDs, who should I contact for this, etc, for which they had absolutely no answers. They kept reiterating over and over again that the students are safe, and that the university is at fault, and the nothing will happen to any of the students. I was given a copy of the said NTA, and they took copies of my I-20 and passport. The whole thing took about an hour or so, of which the questionnaire took less than 5 minutes. The officials were calm and polite, but firm at the same time. They had very little information regarding the whole thing, and were not a reliable source of information for me. There also seemed to be a lot of communication gaps between each other, and the supervisor also admitted that this issue was a first of its kind, because of an ‘unclear’ or ‘fuzzy’ area of the law regarding online classes. Once again, they kept reassuring me that students are fine, and there is nothing that they should worry about.
I’m an innocent student of the TVU, I’ve done Masters in Economics from India; also I’ve earned associates degree in International Business & Finance
from a reputed college of New York City. After that I wanted to pursue MBA using my credits so I did few research to find out the University and
I found TVU, which is accredited on ICE/SEVP so recently I took admission in Tri Valley University.
I supposed to start my first session from Jan 20th 2011 after the winter vacation but this incident happened and overnight we became a victim of this scam.
I live in New Jersey and not even aware of any activity if University was involve before. ICE announced TVU students “illigal” but we had proper visa and studied onsite regularly, if TVU president or management were involve in any fraud then why are we suffering for their crime.
We request you to release our SEVIS and permit TVU students to transfer in some other University because without SEVIS we can not take admission.
I am one of the TVU student got my F1 visa stamped on TVU, I came in Dec 24th 2010 and my course was starting Jan 11th 2011. After paying the fees when i spoke to Dr. Su over the phone about when can I join the classes and arrive to CA as I was landed on was staying wid my mom in a different state, Dr Su told me the classes would start by 13th jan and also offered me virtual classes( where in I need to have to shift myself to CA and still i can attend the class) I dint liked this idea coz i wanted to make friends and enjoy my studies, by the time i would have decided an thing on 19th Jan the university got shut down. Now my life has became a total mess I am nt sure where to go what to do. I have contacted and wasted about $1000 in consultation a lawyer but the lawyer itself Ar not sure of what need to be done in this situation.Being a girl aged of 23 m really scared of even he idea of radio tag so I have locked my self in the house and not meeting or going out any where.My family is totally sacred and i feel as I have done a Major crime by admitting my self into the TVU. THIS IS NOT OUR FAULT AT ALL.Then why are we students being victimised.NEITHER I HAVE VIOLATED ANY RULES NOR APPLIED FOR CPT OR ANYTHING.I just came here to study and i m regretting it. Please help the students out with a valid option where in i need not have to waste a lot of time. I Don’t wan to loose an year in all these things.Please Hep the students in transferring there Sevis.
From a month we are going through with a big mental stress and fear of ICE’s atrocious behaviour towards students. We need help and support to continue our studies and we need justice, we are innocent.
I am Swetha , I am former Tri Valley university Student. I have changed my status from H4 to F1 in Sep 2010. As soon as this TVU incident happened i have applied for COS to H4.I have contacted the ICE official number what they have posted in their website for assistance for former TVU students.
I was advised by them to apply for reinstatement if I want to study in US or Voluntary departure through ICE to maintain clean record.
When i told them that I have applied for COS to H4 they said that I can do that as I have that option.
But, later that day , DHS called my husband and were looking for me .My husband let them know that we already spoke to ICE officals and told them the option given by them, but still they asked my husband along with me to voluntarily come to their office on tuesday. He gave the address and his name and his number.
When our attorney called them we were informed that we will receive an NTA.
Is this SEVP number is just to track us and worsen thing for us? Why is DHS calling after me giving optons from ICE?
We are victamized here, I have lost already more than $6000 in tution fees and apart from that if Im given an NTA attorney cherges are in addition to it.
Hope the things dont get more worse.
I greatly appreciate your efforts in this matter. This is giving us a much needed moral support in a situation which is getting more and more hopeless for us with every passing day. Almost every student is wondering the same thing: how can the students be penalized for the misdeeds of a school whose existence was fully blessed by the concerned authorities. Action taken in cases of egregious violations is understandable but every student is being treated the exact same way. Absolutely no former student has an assurance that he/she can successfully transfer to a different school. Each and every day we keep hearing about more students being issued NTA’s or subject to unjust situations. We keep hearing about some high level talks going on about working out a fair deal for the students. What is happening in reality seems to be much different from that. I hope somebody will intervene and correct the situation.
Thank You for helping the victims of TVU and i really appreciate the effort and the concern you have showed on the students who are going through one of the stressful days of theirs lifes.
I joined the TVU for spring 2011 on 01/16/2011 and my SEVIS got terminated on 01/18/2011 as the raid is done on 01/19/2011 and i dont understand why they did without even knowing the facts of the students.
I feel strongly that in USA “No is guilty until proven” and every body deserves their rights but here our rights are being trashed into dump.
Just merely joining in a college without knowing what the college is about we got stuck in this mess and no one wants listen to plight of the students from government side.
To say the fact literally lost a lot of weight and the stress making me crazy and the students deserve a good justice and no one accountable for the time and money we are loosing in the mess.
Once again thank you for the support your are giving us.
I am one of the Tri-valley victim. Home land security officials came to my house and firstly they verified by my name and later on they said that I have to go with them to the DHS office in our area. They planned to take me under custody because they didn’t allowed me to take my mobile and not even my debit or credit cards. When I asked them like when I am going to come back they said “we have no idea, it is our duty for us to take you to our office” They took me to their office and asked around 40 to 50 questions related to me and the university. I answered all of the questions and one of the official wrote all the answers and I provided them some of the proofs such as my I-20 and other documents related to university. They took my passport and issued a NTA and asked me to appear in front of an official on MAR 1. Mean while they said that we are going to take your finger prints and check your back ground and if some thing goes wrong you will be kept in jail, I gave my finger prints and every thing was clear but it took a while to get that result. I was really scared that my life came to an end when the jailers van came to the office and waiting for my finger print reports. By gods grace I am out of that office. We are just students here not criminals, US government have to take necessary steps for the students to get transferred as soon as possible and please cancel these NTA’s because we already lost lot of money on this university. We are under lot of mental stress from almost a month.
Thanks shah & the group for showing a positive attitude and encouraging students by posting updates regularly & handling the situation in right direction.
It was an unfortunate day in January, when ICE officers dropped in at my house and informed me about the closure of the institution. They explained me about the investigation. I was asked to answer a questionnaire. I was taken to detention center to complete the questioning process as they felt it was not feasible to do the process at my house. They handcuffed me and took me to the detention. The moment, they handcuffed me was a tough moment for me to handle. I was flustered, uncomfortable, with a myriad of thoughts running through my mind, unable to understand the developing events. I do not know if it is a norm in U.S, but it was definitely foreign to me. I felt that they could have asked me to answer without the procedure.
After the questioning at the center, I was given a bond of $3000. I was put in the detention. The entire experience was strange and psychologically traumatic. The officers agreed that I was duped and institution was fraudulent. But, they had to follow the norm, I guess. I was in the confined waiting room for 6 hours before my turn came in to complete the registration process. I was feeling tired and weak since I did not eat anything from the time they picked me up. I was without food for more than 24 hrs prior to registration. I did question the officer as to why I had to go through this ordeal when administrator of the school was not put into any kind of duress for her fault. The first meal I had was the breakfast served at 6.00 am next day. It was 3.00 am by the time I was put in the cell. It was an eerie experience.
Detention cell is a small rectangular room with a wash basin and loo attached to each other. It had a bunk bed with a mattress, mirror, table and chair, T.V with a single channel running. I personally felt that the confined atmosphere was bit tough. There were specific times when you could walk out into lounge areas. The food was not palatable. The psychological pressure made the experience even more horrible. The inmates could only make collect calls which were expensive. I did not know about the need for money and hence I did not get my mobile or my wallet. I was also asked by the officers to walk out of my house with just my clothes, jacket, and shoes. The only way to get money into jail was if someone put a money order on your name from outside. I was not able to use the collect call as it did not go through to most of the phones of my friends. I had to ask someone to put a money order from outside which took a lot of time. I could finally secure a bond by the next day and was released.
- I later heard that some of students were given bonds as high as $22000. How can students arrange that amount and get released. Is it not improper to treat victims in such a manner? It gives a sense that they don’t want students to come out easily.
- It is a permanent scar for the reputation of the students. The students who have experienced the ordeal would hardly forget it in their life.
- If they believed that students were duped and they were trying to get information, they could have taken passport and details rather putting them in a confinement.
- The students lost money as tuition, time, and had to go through the trauma. Is it justifiable to put them through that from a humanitarian perspective? The school was approved and certified by the government bodies. DSO at the school made a mess of the system. It is a major policy issue. Why is it not being addressed? Should not they look at plugging the loop holes and developing better certifying system when it is a matter of national security?
- I know a couple of students who stayed in detention for 16 days. Is this kind of treatment justifiable for “ignorance of fact” (f-1 rules)? (DSO is responsible for guiding and informing the students about F-1 guidelines. In this instance, there is clear proof that DSO has misguided students)
- The students spent a lot of money for legal expenses. Some unscrupulous lawyers charged amounts ranging $6500 to just get them bailed out. Some of them charged $500 to make a call to ICE. I would say that they had to face a triple whammy effect (legal, status, tuition loss). The handling of an NTA is an additional expense.
- The options given by the government don’t seem to lead the issue anywhere towards fair justice to students.
- We request to put an end to this duress and provide justice to the students. We request you to be sympathetic and put an end to NTAs and allow them to transfer to different schools. They are responsible people and would be contributing to American economy in the way of tuition and taxes during their stay in USA to complete education. We make plea to handle this case with lot of empathy
Thank you Mr. Shah for all your support you are offering to all TVU students like me. I am sending you my story below and how I spent in a Detainee center at a county Jail in Michigan for 17 days from Jan 19th 2011 to Feb 04th 2011.
Two officials from ICE knocked my door on the morning of Jan 19th 2011 at around 9.30am and said that they came to me to inquire about some issues with me. That was almost when the initial raids were taken place in California. I was in Michigan. They continued the interrogation for nearly 2 to 3 hrs. Initially they did not even told me that they came here to ask about TVU and keeping on asking questions, putting me in total dilemma and in between scaring me that they could arrest me. On request, nearly after 45mins to 60mins they said that TVU was a fraud University and they are here to inquire about TVU. After the interrogation they said that they canceled my I-20 and took my passport and all my I-20, even from my previous University. After collecting the copies of my Undergraduate and Master’s degree, they took me to Immigration office. After taking my finger prints they take me to county jail and detained me. Mean while they even did not allowed to talk to anyone and the only chance I got to talk to my elder brother was for just couple of minutes while transferring me to jail at about 4’0 clock in the evening.
On Jan 21st i.e. after 2 days of taking me into custody one of the Special agents, came to jail to meet me and took my signature on some documents to send it them to court along with NTA and said he will send them to court and court will give me date for hearing. After nearly 10 days, he came to meet me again in detainee center on Jan 31st and said that I have to sign again the same documents claiming that my alien number on previous documents was wrong and this time he came with the correct one and need to send them again to Immigration court. And this time he said that he will come again because he has to ask some questions regarding TVU and claimed that I was not telling true and scared me that if he wants he can put me into case. I do not understand how they could this mistake and change my Alien number and making me to suffer for long time.
Initially they even rejected my Bail Bond but I was released from jail on Feb 04th 2011 without any bond on Order of the Release on Recognizance.
This was my story in brief, but more than that the days I spent in jail are the most horrible days I spent all over my life. It has thrown me in so much stress that still sometimes I woke up from sleep. They took me to jail on Jan 19th around 4.00pm and kept me in a small room for nearly 12 hour. That room was so cold that I was shivering like a hell. At around 4.00am a jail officer took me to another room which was a very small cubicle with capacity of two people. He said that I have to get a medical clearance from the doctor before shifting to detainee halls. I was the fourth person in that cubicle and I was sleeping on the floor near the toilet pot. I could not forget these days in my life. I spent seven nights and six days in that room before I was shifted to detainee hall. I am not blaming the Jail authorities for this because they wanted to keep me along with other detained people. Of course these people are detained because of other reasons and I was the only student there. ICE has to be blamed totally for my suffering for 17 days.
Every US officials says they will treat TVU students fairly, but no one is defining the term “fairly”. Do they say that the treatment I got in jail was the fair treatment they gave to me? Or detaining TVU students forcefully by blocking all roads is the fair treatment. The only reason mentioned in NTA is that I was not attending the classes and my SEVIS status was terminated on Jan 18th2011. I sincerely request you and all lawyers in US to force officials to treat TVU students as victims but not as criminals.