U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) is supposed to be the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
It also has a regulatory function regarding learning institutions authorized to enroll foreign students and is required by law to adjudicate applications by those institutes of higher learning and vocational training to issue Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students.
But ICE pays no attention to that significant responsibility and rubber stamps these applications—as it did with Tri-Valley University and the University of Northern Virginia.
The law requires a physical inspection as well as accreditation as an institute of higher learning for those colleges and universities seeking I-20 issuing authority. However ICE has completely failed to inspect these institutions. As a consequence, fraud is rampant. Most is by Chinese immigrants, like Susan Su, Jerry Wang and Daniel Ho, aimed at mainly Chinese and Indian students.
Striking a blow at a Silicon Valley school that attracted foreigners with student visas, federal agents on Thursday raided Sunnyvale's Herguan University and charged its CEO with visa fraud.The indictment marks the second time federal officials have ensnared a Bay Area university in a growing effort to catch up with schools that allegedly rake in millions of dollars as so-called visa mills.
Herguan University leader Jerry Wang, 32, was arrested Thursday at his home in Santa Clara and charged in a 15-count indictment that could send him to prison for up to 23 years and amount to more than $1 million in fines.
The charges come a year after an investigation by this newspaper found Herguan was among a group of Bay Area schools — including Pleasanton's now-shuttered Tri-Valley University — that misrepresented information on federal applications, which allowed them to sponsor overseas students for coveted visas.
In the case of Tri-Valley, federal agents allege the unaccredited school had been paid millions of dollars by foreigners to obtain student visas that authorized them to remain in the U.S.
Thursday's indictment said Wang and others at Herguan submitted false documents, false transfer letters and made false statements to federal regulators.Sunnyvale University CEO Indicted On Visa Fraud Charges, by Lisa M. Krieger and Molly Vorwerck, San Jose Mercury News, August 2, 2012
The case could throw into question the immigration status for about 450 students enrolled at Herguan, most natives of India...Herguan was closed Thursday but Friberg said it would reopen Friday. Students may continue to attend classes so long as the school stays certified.
But if it closes, they must try to immediately enroll in an accredited school to maintain their legal status — or go home, empty-handed, after spending thousands of dollars toward what they hoped would be an American degree.
Wang is also CEO of the University of East-West Medicine, which shares a newly renovated two-story office building on Lawrence Expressway with Herguan University. The indictment didn't specifically allege problems at the other school.
Until last year, the school's lobby was decorated with photos of Wang with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and commendations from U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, among others.
The newspaper's 2011 investigation showed Herguan sent letters to immigration authorities from three accredited colleges, including Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic University, promising to accept Herguan's credits. But representatives from those schools told this newspaper last year that they did not write such letters.