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US Authorities GPS Tagging Duped Indian Students 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-tat-wrong? dept.
tanveer1979 writes "Indian students duped by Tri-Valley University in California have been fitted with GPS devices by US immigration authorities. Scores of Indian students were caught in a scam where the university violated immigration norms and illegally got the students F1 visa and immigration status. To keep a track on the movements of the students, the authorities have fitted them with GPS devices. This is spiraling into a major diplomatic row between India and the USA, with the former calling the practice inhuman and unwanted."

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US Authorities GPS Tagging Duped Indian Students

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @11:58AM (#35068202)

    They should be given plane tickets.

    It should never have come down to a controversy over GPS devices because they should have been deported immediately when it was discovered that their visas were fraudulent. Goodbye, sorry about the scam, enjoy your trip back home, the ticket's on us.

    Being duped (and their claims of being completely unwilling and unaware participants in the scam are already dubious at best) doesn't mean you get to remain in the country. Once back in India, they can reapply to a real university and get a real visa, if they wish. They can also be sent a refund of any "tuition" left over after this fake school's accounts were frozen. Beyond that, we don't owe them anything.

    • Correct. Students wanted an American education, students came to America, got screwed. Now comply with the law. Asking to be treated like kings is just plain stupid especially when it was up to the student to verify how legit their "university" is.
      • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's thing [wikipedia.org] to be precise.
        Like when they issue them a student visa...

        The students say they were unaware of the dodgy nature of the university and they were conned. In a petition to the secretary of homeland security and the director of ICE, the affected students said they registered in the university believing it is a "bonafide and legitimate university that had been registered with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database."

        SEVIS is a web-based technology maintained by the US to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents, while they are legally enrolled in the US education system. Indeed, Tri-Valley University is among the SEVIS Approved Schools listed on the US ICE website. Authorities have since shut down the university.

        And when TFA says "among the SEVIS Approved Schools listed on the US ICE website", it means IT IS STILL AMONG THE APPROVED SCHOOLS. [ice.gov]

        On a side note, I completely understand your feelings regarding this matter.
        If I was a Navajo Indian, I too would be pissed off by all these immigrant "Indians" coming to my country. Fuckers don't even wear feathers.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        Students wanted an American education, students came to America, got screwed.

        Thus obtaining an "American" education. I frankly don't see what the problem is.

      • by Weezul (52464)

        It's infinitely more important to nab the university than the kids. If we em' to testify against the university, well shit give em' 5 year work visas conditional upon that testimony. I'd imagine the GPS devices were used to evidence so that INS didn't need to keep them here for testimony. If so, yes that dumb, let earn some money here in exchange for testimony. Don't treat em' like cattle.

        INS most likely nabbed them at the border, maybe even planning it when they were in India. INS should've promised t

    • by Weezul (52464) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:15PM (#35068410)

      I'd imagine INS felt they needed more evidence against the university, overboard or not. All these students should be well paid for their time working as informants against the university, keep their work paychecks, and be refunded their 'tuition'. Send them home happy with a "thank you come again", not a deportation stamp. And then extract massive fines from this for-profit university that more than cover these expenses.

    • by anyGould (1295481) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:19PM (#35068448)

      I think the government does owe them something - the school was listed as an approved site by the government, after all:

      SEVIS is a web-based technology maintained by the US to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents, while they are legally enrolled in the US education system. Indeed, Tri-Valley University is among the SEVIS Approved Schools listed on the US ICE website. Authorities have since shut down the university.

      So they came here, partly because the Government lists them as an approved school. Not their fault that the school is no longer approved.

      But sending them home does seem preferable to the electronic-ball-and-chain. But then, American government is fond of the Guilty Until We Decide You're Guilty method...

      • "American government is fond of the Guilty Until We Decide You're Guilty method"

        How's about a show trial where some pusgut, shitspouting, self-important, prosecutorial, pompous little shit, prances, mugs and pontificates, demonizing these or some other poor bastard who for one reason or another just happened to be the sacrificial "goat" to be made into a corpse/example/prisoner so that careers can be advanced and the semi-literate and only slightly/not interested can be (persuaded/lied to) that killing/impr

    • It appears they were willing to help INS nail their employers and this fraudulent for-profit 'university', therefore thy should be awarded all the usual benefits of police informers, i.e. no deportation stamp in their passport, payment for their services, keeping the gains of their illegal work, etc. At minimum, INS would've given them immunity from immediate deportation in exchange for their cooperation.

      If you send some Indians home happy after helping INS nail exploitive employers, you'll get more confes

    • by digitig (1056110)
      If you watch the report (yes, yes, I know) you will find that they do face deportation. The GPS tags are presumably to make sure the authorities can find them when the ticket is arranged, and is probably cheaper and more humane than keeping them incarcerated. There's scope for a further diplomatic row, though, about whether the US did all it could to prevent the scam. Others have said that the students should have checked that the university was legitimate, but it was listed on the SEVIS database as legiti
    • by BBTaeKwonDo (1540945) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @01:03PM (#35068992)
      I second the doubting of the "I didn't know the university was fake" argument:

      Investigations by US authorities found that while students were admitted to residential and on-line courses of the university and on paper lived in California, in reality they worked illegally in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

      Consider also a related article which gives the university's side of the story [indiatimes.com]

      "Starting in April, one of student assistants Anji Reddy, who worked in TVU administrative office, teamed with another student Ram Krista Karra, who also has a consultant company, conducting a large cheating scheme by asking students to make tuition payment into Ram Krista Karra's personal account in exchange for student I-20 and CPT approval. TVU has fired these two individuals," the email said.

      So we've got a bunch of people who are supposed to be attending university in California but who are actually working in other states (the visa only allows on-campus employment of less than 20 hours per week) and are paying into someone's personal account. Either these students are the most naive, trusting bunch of people on Earth, or some (or more likely, all) of them were in on the scam.

    • They should be given plane tickets. It should never have come down to a controversy over GPS devices because they should have been deported immediately when it was discovered that their visas were fraudulent. Goodbye, sorry about the scam, enjoy your trip back home, the ticket's on us.

      It's the ones under investigation. It would be a bigger crime to round all the students up and put them on a plane, when some of the visas might be valid. Kind of ties into that whole "innocent before proven guilty" thing we like.

      Or, perhaps more likely since they're not citizens and we've thrown that out long ago even -for- citizens, it's just that ICE doesn't have the time, money, or competence to put a dozen students on a plane in less than 2 months when there's no actual crime committed and they can't

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)

      Actually, giving them a plane ticket home would be better than treating them all like convicted child molesters. If they don't have mens rea (a guilty mind/criminal intent), they aren't criminals. They're people with incorrect immigration papers. So you say, "Gee, it's too bad your papers are screwed up, but you have to go home until you can get them straightened out. We'll give you a reasonable period to wrap up your affairs first of course. The people of the United States wish you well in all your future

    • by Kosi (589267)

      If I understand that correctly, these guys really wanted to study, but got duped by a fake university, run by americans. They should not be hassled in any way (like with GPS devices) just because they fell victim to american(!) criminals. Apologize to them for that, give them correct visas and send them to a real uni, what's the problem?

  • Inhuman? (Score:4, Funny)

    by hort_wort (1401963) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:01PM (#35068248)

    Inhuman? So are animals tagging each other with GPS locators now? Those dolphins and their paranoia, always hiding amongst my tuna....

    • It appears that the problem is a staffing shortage at the Federal Government level. If the DOJ, or Immigration, or who ever needs to track folks, is having a problem tracking folks it wants to track, then why not hire folks to track them? Of course there is the concept that this could be out sourced. It appears that there is this need by Corporations, and the Government to outsource millions of jobs, once held by Americans, to the BRIC [wikipedia.org] job sector. I believe that this creates an irony that you just have
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        If the DOJ, or Immigration, or who ever needs to track folks, is having a problem tracking folks it wants to track, then why not hire folks to track them?

        Hire some Mexicans to track the Indians?

        • I wish I was a Play Write, there has to be a script in this cacophony of cultural personalties and personal goals.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      AS soon as those lazy ass bears launch their own GPS satellite constellation they can do that. Until then they can go crap in the woods.

  • by Stargoat (658863) * <stargoat@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:03PM (#35068264) Journal
    The United States does dumb things some times. American attitude: Let's bring over the best and brightest the world has to offer. We'll pay 40000 or more for their education. We'll not spend this money on an American. Then, we'll kick the best and brightest (and know best educated) people in the world out of the country when they graduate.

    This strategy will strangle long term growth in the US. Smart and educated people have smart and educated kids who in turn have smart and educated kids. Do you see where this is going?
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:12PM (#35068370)

      Except that's NOT the issue here. These were far from the "best and brightest." Those guys go to REAL universities, not fake ones that are just fronts for illegal employment scams.

    • by loutr (626763)

      At my French university you could go study abroad for one year. The US were amongst the choices, you could even go to Berkeley or something like that. The beauty of this system was that you would pay the same tuition fees whether you went abroad or not, so basically you could go to Berkeley for one year and only pay your cheap French tuition fees* . OTOH, US students who came here paid their regular (indecent) US tuition fees...

      * about 500€ per year, or even nothing if you have a scholarship, which i

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        about 500€ per year

        Wow, that's about $700. That's less than a lot of U.S. students would spend just on books alone. And that's without a scholarship or financial aid.

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          $700 is about half the current tuition per semester of the cheapest community colleges in the US (most of them in Mississippi). No wonder the US is rapidly falling behind the rest of the world.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            Because in the USA higher education is for the RICH only.

            It's always been that way, and it will stay that way.

            • The Rich? um no. The rich simply play more, and can go to collage whether they earned it or not. If you are poor and get good grades you can goto collage on scholarships and financial aid. If you are anyone and get great grades you can goto collage on scholarships alone. You clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

            • by nxtw (866177)

              Because in the USA higher education is for the RICH only.

              Bullshit. Expensive American education is accessible to the non-rich, primarily through easy-to-get, hard-to-discharge student loans and sometimes grants and subsidies that can result in the students effectively getting paid to attend school.. Whether the non-rich can afford the loans accessible to them is another question

              If it ever seems that higher education was for the rich only, it's probably because those smart enough to go to the four year uni

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            No wonder the US is rapidly falling behind the rest of the world.

            Our colleges are still quite highly regarded.

        • by Weezul (52464)

          If the parent went to EP or ENS, well those are actually better than Berkeley. lol

          Almost all civilized countries have kept university basically free. Do you a realize French doctor charges only $25 for a consultation? Yeah, that's partially cuz med school costs them nothing. Did I mention every French doctor I've ever seen was better every American doctor I've seen? Did I mention those were mostly walkup appointments in France?

          Btw, you'll actually find nearly open admission for European universities o

    • by bjorniac (836863)

      You're missing out a couple of vital steps in your logic here: From someone who's done it, it goes more like this:

      University administrators: We've signed up 4000 students for intro courses in physics this semester. We need qualified teachers and lab assistants, but are only willing to pay less than minimum wage, an amount for which we can't find any Americans with the qualifications willing to work.

      So: Let's bring over the best and brightest the world has to offer. We'll pay them a pittance and claim that '

    • by martas (1439879)
      Uhhh, the United States doesn't pay a penny for education of foreign nationals, private donors do. For undergraduate education, scholarship funds come exclusively from private universities and philanthropists. For graduate education, costs are paid for from departmental funds/the student's advisor's funds. The latter two may partially come from government grants, but you can't interpret this as the US government paying for the students' education, since graduate students are considered to pay for themselves
    • Speaking as someone who came here to study, and am going back -- sorry, but we pay for our education. Paying three and a half times the in-state rate, I even subsidised a few in-state students. The rules are that no federal or state money can go to foreign students, so if you want to get into a federally funded programme, tough titty. You can get private money, but all but a handful of scholarships and loans are limited to citizens and green card holders. At most you can work for the university you attend,
  • by straponego (521991) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:08PM (#35068320)
    We can track their breeding and migratory patterns, learn about where they eat, and-- wait, you're talking about people? What do you mean, "just brown people, for now?" Not cool.
    • by h00manist (800926)
      I thought they used cellphone tracking for these things. Oh well, maybe immigration didn't have access to that data, so they created their own data source. Either way I think this is the future of data. What data is acessible and possible is sought, not what data is legal.
  • by Weezul (52464) on Tuesday February 01, 2011 @12:09PM (#35068332)

    Isn't this protecting Indian students from immigration exploitation?

    All fees collected by this 'university' should be refunded to the students, along with a nice payment for working as an undercover informant. If the students can gain admission to a legitimate university and can afford it, they should be granted new student visa. Otherwise, they should be given a 90 day visa to wrap up their affairs in the U.S., under the understanding that this might involve continued work, and given a plane ticket home to india. They should not be considered deported if they leave within three months. Send them home happy for helping out INS.

    And all these expenses should be recouped tenfold form this for-profit 'university' that obtained their visa.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, but this will never happen in America. It's too reasonable. It simultaneously punishes a for-profit company (legality of its actions be damned) and doesn't adequately dehumanize the foreigners, who are THE ENEMY for having set foot on American soil (their intentions be damned).

  • They're not going to blow up anything. People need to stop acting like idiots. Well, on second thought, they might want to blow up something NOW...
    • by rickb928 (945187)

      It's not about blowing stuff up, stupid. It's more important than that. It's jobs.

      And I'm pretty sure I used the proper forms, so blowing an artery is your issue. Go police someone else.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm an Indian and am aware about the craze among Indians engineers to go abroad (or get an MBA). Infact I am writing this from Germany. While a lot of Indians have contributed to foreign lands, this doesn't mean all Indians are intelligent or will contribute to economy of whereever they go.
    The students in this case want India (and the world) to believe that they are harmless victims of the situation, but I am sure they were aware of the scam and hence should have reported this matter earlier. If you don't r

    • by cmholm (69081)

      Brother, you were doing so well, but you just had to push the globalism button in the last paragraph. Therefore: you get picked because "you're" cheap enough to make up for a generally mediocre level of post-secondary education, are often times proficient in your colonial overlord's language, and if residing in a host country, easy to exploit and send home.

    • I'm an Indian [...] if an Indian abroad takes a job from somebody else he does so based on his talents and this is why the company picks him/her over a native. Sorry, today the world works on these terms.... So don't crib about Indians taking your jobs all the time.....there is a reason we get picked over natives.

      Um, no. The reason that an Indian gets a job over an American is that the Indian is not a citizen, is here on a work visa, and must leave the country if he does not have a job. His employer usually promises to help him gain a green card through a process that takes years. If the Indian were to lose his job, this process could be screwed up or even reset and he would have to start all over again. All these things make him a compliant employee who is motivated to work hard, take less pay, and is less likely t

  • Even Martha Stewart was wearing one for a few months, the idea here is that the students can still move around freely and be tracked while deportation proceedings are pending, its like prison without walls. It is easy to catch and deport legal immigrants who are no longer welcome. What is funny to me is I have not read similar reports of tagging illegal immigrants with GPS devices even if they were caught, is this coz this might piss off certain chunk of the vote bank?
  • Why is it even possible in this day to make it through a border crossing with a fraudulent visa? It would be cheap insurance to develop visa documentation with a matrix code that can be verified in a central database to weed out the frauds when they first land in the US. It's amazing that the US can track its own citizens better than the aliens it brings in from outside.

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      There is no attempt in the US to track visa violations. If you have something that looks real when you come in, you are in. If you have a real visa and overstay, again there is no enforcement whatsoever.

      Now if you stand up in a crowded room and scream how you are here illegally you might get some people's attention. They would usher you out and keep you from coming back into that room. If you get stopped by the police ... well, they are prevented from doing anything that might lead to some kind of immig

    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      i did not rtfa but i assume they were visas obtained with fraudulent student credentials in the form of a fake school telling ICE that these people were students.
  • I'm sure they can sit in jail while their cases are processed.

    What does India do with foreigners it finds without valid visas?

    Sure it sucks for anyone who was conned and didn't thought they were doing the right thing, but that's always the case.

  • paronia rumors are rampant
  • You just have to go an immigration forum dominated by Indians like murthyforum.com and search for TVU. You will find posts as far back as last year where people were discussing TVU as a university which would issue you a CPT (curricular practical training) from day one had no classes and you could start working right away with other people warning this was a fraud. The discussions were long and many people wanted to work from day one. Often it was people who were laid off from their jobs, could not find som

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