The Department of Homeland Security has arrested about 250 students at a fake university it created in the Detroit area to lure unsuspecting foreign students, The Detroit Free Press reports.
About 90 foreign students were arrested in recent months, bringing the total to about 250 since January. ICE made the arrests as part of a sting operation to lure foreign students who were mostly born in India to a fake college that claimed to offer graduate programs in computers and technology.
Many of the students have since been deported to India while others are still appealing their removal orders.
One of the students was allowed to stay after an immigration judge granted them permanent resident status.
Students lost visas because of fake college:
“The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January,” The Free Press reported. “The school was located on Northwestern Highway near 13 Mile Road in Farmington Hills and staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials.”
Attorneys for students say they were unfairly trapped by the government. More than 600 students enrolled in the fake university since it was created in 2016 by ICE.
“Many of the students had enrolled with the university through a program known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which allows students to work in the U.S through a F-1 visa program for foreign students. Some had transferred to the University of Farmington from other schools that had lost accreditation, which means they would no longer be in immigration status and allowed to remain in the U.S,” The Free Press reported.
ICE kept tuition fees:
He fake university charged about $12,000 in tuition and fees per year. The fake university collected millions of dollars, according to the report.
The U.S. "trapped the vulnerable people who just wanted to maintain (legal immigration) status," Texas attorney Rahul Reddy told The Free Press. "They preyed upon on them."
"They made a lot of money," he added.
The government said the students should have known the college was fake because it did not offer any physical classes.
"Their true intent could not be clearer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms said in a court filing. "While 'enrolled' at the University, one hundred percent of the foreign citizen students never spent a single second in a classroom. 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."