Students Weren't Innocent Victims at Raided U.S. Visa Mills

By David North, September 23, 2011

When ICE investigators raided two fringe "universities" earlier this year, places with primarily Indian students, the U.S. media tended to regard the students as victims.

You get a different view from India.

The two institutions are Tri-Valley University in California and Northern Virginia University in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. In both instances ICE was concerned about illegal issuances of visa-creating documents, closing down TVU, apparently for good, and suspending some activities at NVU while leaving the "campus" open for classes.

For more on the latter, a place I visited, see this blog.

The reporting from the Subcontinent comes from the Indian partner of the Wall Street Journal called Mint and it states that:

inquiries by Mint show that far from being innocent victims, Indian students may have known what they were letting themselves in for, even if they committed no crime, according to some experts.

In terms of the specific advantages to the students, the article went on to say

Interviews with former UNVA and TVU students. . . Indicated that students may have intentionally selected these universities, preferring schools known to be lax in marking attendance, with extensive online coursework, and questionable use of "curricular practical training," or CPT, a form of work authorization available in select programmes of study that enabled them to work longer hours in off-campus, part-time jobs.

ICE permits colleges and universities to make virtually all of the day-to-day decisions regarding CPT, which is part of the regulatory framework that goes with F-1 nonimmigrant visas for university students.

Incidentally, though a long way from headquarters, the Indian partner of the WSJ, when saying "even if they committed no crime," follows the company line about the insignificance of enforcing the immigration laws.

I am grateful to Professor Ron Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology, who follows nonimmigrant worker programs, for calling this item to my attention.