Tri-Valley Students Latest Update
Here is the latest update regarding Tri-Valley:
- At this time, it appears that TVU is still listed as a SEVIS-approved school. In all likelihood, this is because the school because it is still within the time for replying to ICE’s Notice of Intent. Until that period passes, ICE can’t shut them down. ICE expects to issue guidance any day regarding the school’s (continued) listing as a SEVIS-approved school;
- If you are a student who knows of wrong-doing, even if you are complicit, talk to us or an experienced immigration attorney. ICE would be interested in cutting a deal with students who are willing to “come clean” about the fraud, and are willing to be a witness. In particular, information is sought from persons who actually visited the school and can describe what (and who) you saw, whether you tried to transfer and were told there is an extra “fee” for the transfer, if you were a “referrer” (or know the identity of someone who was). Any witness probably would not have to go to California to testify, but would have to be willing to do so if asked. If you have information you think would be helpful to ICE, contact us. Again, it would not be well-advised to contact ICE on your own; go through an attorney.
- Many students are under the impression that TVU listed your correct address in SEVIS. Probably not true. It seems that TVU hid the fact that their students were elsewhere (often on CPT), and fed SEVIS fake addresses in the Bay Area. If you have been contacted by ICE, it is probably because they used the address from a previous SEVIS entry, or used your credit info.
- ICE is not giving students the “benefit of the doubt.” The general feel we are getting is that ICE presumes that all students knew that something was “up” and were complicit. That leads us to believe that there will be a lot of Notices to Appear (“NTA”—the notification that removal proceedings are being initiated) going out…once they find the students. It also appears that there may be some resistance on changes to different visas (H-4, for example) or transferring to another school.
Some students have forwarded to us an email or website encouraging them to contact ICE. However, all indications are that the main reason for doing so is because of point 1 above: ICE needs witnesses; the call line is not to help students get transferred or otherwise straighten out their status.
Our best advice at this time is to retain an attorney, stand by, and wait for guidance from SEVIS. If you can get back into an old university (or transfer to a new one), take as many steps as possible to do so (legally, of course). We realize schools are not able to produce an I-20 yet, but there is a reasonably foreseeable chance they will do so soon. If you can change into a new status (H-4, H-1B, etc.), talk to us and let us see if this is appropriate for you. In some cases, persons who have a valid I-94 from a previous visa category (for example, H-4), it may be able to leave and return in using the previous status. BUT DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT SPEAKING TO US OR AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY YOU TRUST. If you already filed to change your visa category, we should discuss how to reply to any Request for Evidence “RFE.” While many of our readers are highly sophisticated and can “fill out a form” by themselves, at this point it is advisable to retain an attorney to do so. If the student already has a taint of fraud owing to Tri-Valley University association/F-1, USCIS may be inclined to view any “mistake” as another attempt to defraud the government.
If you are contacted by ICE, or have already been contacted by ICE, please call or email us IMMEDIATELY. We also suggest that, if you have not already done so, please forward us your cell so we have your name in our mobile phones as well, and know it is you calling. Of course, if it is not an emergency, please call the office number (610-664-6271 or 302-225-2734 ) or send an email.
We hope this answers some of your questions. The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. An attorney can only offer legal advice where he knows the specifics of your particular case. We welcome your feedback; if you know of something new or disagree with something we have said, email John Vandenberg at ([email protected]) or Rick Hogan at ([email protected]). There is bound to be much misinformation (well-meaning and otherwise) out there. Hogan & Vandenberg is following this closely and will endeavor to keep you informed.