South Asian Bar Association of Northern California to help ASA students

It seems that help is on its way for the students of the American School of Aviation,  South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA) has offered assistance to the more than 100 stranded students for assessing their legal options to get justice and remain within the U.S.

A press release issued by the South Asian Bar Association confirms the report. “These students have been placed in a really tough situation. They did not receive the opportunity to complete their coursework as promised and have not been assured that refunds will be provided. Many of them do not have permanent housing and some of them are still attempting to transfer to other schools,” said Shaamini Babu, Co-chair of SABA’s Pro Bono Committee, who is working with Ashok Sinha, consul for community affairs at the Consulate General of India in San Francisco, to ascertain the facts of the case and the legal issues that the students are facing.

Fortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has expressed its wish not to pressurize the students to leave the country upon the expiration of their current visas.

SABA President Khurshid Khoja has asked Merced County District Attorney to bring criminal charges against the owners of the American School of Aviation, a critical move, which will help students obtain U.S. visas for them to remain in the country indefinitely and receive work authorization.

SABA also provided the students with referrals to attorneys in the area willing to take on the civil matter on a contingency basis.

“Our Pro Bono Committee normally doesn’t refer clients to counsel willing to work pro bono unless the public interest is directly implicated. However, in this situation we were able to find SABA members willing to work on contingency because this potential breach of contract renewed our community’s outrage over the exploitation of immigrant South Asians by swindlers, traffickers, and other opportunists who prey on the vulnerable,” said Vid Prabhakaran, SABA Vice President-External.

In this type of contingency arrangement, the attorney receives a percentage of the recovery, only if a recovery is made. In the event that the attorney is unsuccessful, he suffers the costs of bringing the legal action including the costs of filing fees, expert fees, investigation fees, and the attorney’s own legal fees.

Students can contact SABA members and discuss their further plans on below given contact details:

General inquiries about ASA cases should be directed to SABA President Khurshid Khoja via e-mail or mail to:

South Asian Bar Association of Northern California
c/o The Chugh Firm
4800 Great America Parkway, Ste 310
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “South Asian Bar Association of Northern California to help ASA students

  1. Thanks SABA for your help and support. To have been exploited by your own countryman in this foreign land is quite a feeling of disgust and frustration. We hope you will be able to bring these liars and cheats to justice, and if not the money, we atleast will get our dignity back.

  2. This sounds really helpful, I hope to keep getting updates on SABA’s progress, as I am in the process of extending my visa to finish my training. Some of us are in a dire need of work permit to support their living expenses. It will be a blessing to those who have not been able to join any school as of yet.
    But please provide solid evidence which can be stated when contacting USCIS.

  3. Open letter to SABA President July 29, 2008
    Khurshid Khoja, Esquire

    In Re: American School of Aviation

    Dear Mr.Khoja:

    I applause and thank you for the SABA’s decision to come to aid for the American School of Aviation students stranded in Atwater. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel with a hope of getting out the quagmire at long last.

    Early this year, Silver State Helicopters (SSH) school in Las Vegas closed by filing a Chapter 7. Over 2,500 students lost $70,000 each. They operated 250 helicopters at 40 school locations. If the past similar school closure cases are any indication, the prosecution of the ASA case seems less likely. Your writing to the county DA requesting criminal charges to be brought against the unscrupulous school owner(s) is a step in the right direction.

    For the recovery of student fund in absence of any disposable assets likely to be left with ASA, I am of an opinion that only viable means is to name both the Kingfisher Airlines and the student loan lending institutions as co-defendants in the lawsuit. The desire to keep their public image from tarnished is likely to make them think twice to get entangled in a lawsuit and it would bring them swiftly to the settlement table.

    While no lawyers are miracle workers, I trust that one of your able member lawyers with legal expertise in this venue and judicial connection in India could rise to an occasion to build a strong enough case to achieve success in recovering the lost student’s fund.

    In July 2007, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE) was abolished much to the public dismay leaving the consumers statewide unprotected. While your organization’s bifurcated effort in civil and criminal front continues, it would serve a great public interest at this juncture if you could take one step further to push for a timely legislative enactment for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to safeguard student’s tuition from school failures and closures in the future. Real social justice then becomes apparent not as something that will be but something that is. I wish you success in this endeavor. Until such time, sir I am.

    Respectfully submitted.

    Echo Yankee
    ATP/A&P

  4. -Correction-
    Upon rereading my previous post, I found a fundamental and fatal error in complying with English grammar that should not be left uncorrected in the excuse that English is my second language.

    In my “Open letter to SABA President”, the second word on the first line the word “applause” was inadvertently used. The intended and correct word is “applaud” and the sentence to be read “I applaud….”
    Although I know why a pencil comes with an eraser on one end, my profuse apology is in order.

    Echo Yankee, over and out

  5. My view from the sideline:

    Follow up: Open letter to SABA President Khurshid Khoja, Esquire

    Dear Mr. Khoja,

    I am following up on my open letter of 7/30/2008 addressed to you subsequent to SABA’s announcement to come to aid for the SAS students stranded in Atwater upon its sudden closure in June 2008.

    Have you received a reply since from the DA’s office in response to your earlier request then made?

    So, what sort of progress has been made and continue to be made at SABA to help those former ASA students in distress?

    Why no SABA initiative so far for assisting the victimized students to file an individual or consolidated crime report with the sheriff’s department, the first step necessary for a criminal prosecution from the victim’s end?

    Do you really believe in your trained legal professional mind that the ASA students qualify for a “U” visa with an employment authorization that I believe you’re referring to in your earlier statement? If not, please explain.

    What makes you believe the “U” visa relief will work in this situation despite seemingly clear cut eligibility requirement that precludes the former ASA students?

    http://www.ilrc.org/resources/U%20Visa/Frequently%20Asked%20Questions.html

    Above questions are not meant to be rhetorical and I truly believe the former ASA student’s interests along with that of public would be best served by the real answers provided in order to keep a false hope of any kind from emerging.

    At the risk of giving an impression of being overly impatient, I adjure your thoughtful response in a timely fashion.

    Respectfully submitted.

    Echo Yankee
    ATP/A&P

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s