To target immigrants for deportation, ICE created a fake university
America’s colleges attract the brightest minds from all over the world, with many foreign-born students seeking to expand their knowledge in this great nation.
Traditionally, colleges are seen as a safe haven for those looking to learn. But as one elaborate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation shows, not all foreign students are as safe as they once were in America.
According to the Detroit Free Press, a total of about 250 students have been arrested on immigration violations as part of a sting operation where the Department of Homeland Security created the fake University of Farmington. Most of the students came from India to attend the school that marketed graduate programs in technology and computer science. Many of the students have been deported to India while some are fighting their removals. The newspaper reports one student has been allowed to stay in America after being granted lawful permanent resident status by an immigration judge.
The university reportedly was created by federal law enforcement officials with ICE and incorporated in 2016. An email from the fake university told students that graduate programs’ tuition is $2,500 per quarter and costs an average of $1,000 a month. It is speculated the university collected millions of dollars.
Many of the students came to America through the Curricular Practical Training program, which allows foreign students to work in the U.S. through a F-1 visa program.
Attorneys for ICE and the Department of Justice told the Free Press that the students should have been aware the university was fake since it did not have classes in a physical location. One attorney said, “If it were truly about obtaining an education, the University would not have been able to attract anyone, because it had no teachers, classes, or educational services.”
Attorneys for ICE say the students came to the university for maintaining their visas here in America and not for an education. There have been no reports yet of anyone suing ICE for entrapment or collecting money for tuition to a university that doesn’t exist.
If you believe you are being targeted for removal or if you know someone who is being targeted by ICE, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel.
Many removal proceedings of immigrants being with an arrest from ICE or law enforcement. If an immigrant is arrested within 100 miles of the border and was inside of the U.S. for two weeks or less, he or she may be removed through an expedited removal process. ICE can also detain arrested immigrants if the agency decides to pursue removal.
There are various arguments that can be made to keep immigrants in America. An immigrant who is likely to be a victim of crime, bodily harm or would be tortured if returned to their home country has an argument to remain in America. Other factors, like the Asylum, Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Violence Against Women Act, can help keep immigrants in America.
ICE creating a fake university to attract foreigners is a new tactic for the agency. There is no telling what lengths the federal government will go through in order to target immigrants. But it isn’t a crime to be an immigrant in America. If you find yourself in the position like these students who believed they were obtaining an education but were in fact being targeted by federal authorities, be sure to retain a lawyer who focuses on immigration. It can be the difference between life and death, depending where the immigrant is sent to.