ICE Creates a Fake University and Detains More than 100 International Students

Is this entrapment?

The media has recently reported on the efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in creating a fake University to lure international students who depend on student visas to remain in the USA.

More than a hundred students and some recruiters were detained Jan 30th by immigration authorities in connection with the enrollment in the University of Farmington, a fake university which had a website, social media and occupied a small office in a building in Farmington Hills.

The fake university even had a motto: “Scientia et Labor,” meaning “Knowledge and Work”

This very unusual activity by the federal agency has brought international repercussions.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said last week that is has contacted U.S.  officials expressing concern and urging the US to release “at the earliest” around 130 Indian nationals who are now facing deportation.

The Indian government assures the students “have been duped”.

Since the fake university was an online outlet, the ICE sweep was nationwide.

Eight defendants were charged criminally for conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit. 130 students were arrested on simple civil immigration charges. This is the largest operation targeting Indian nationals in recent history.

The students had immigrated legally on student visas. Prosecutors said that the students were aware that the university was not a legitimate operation. But one of the students’ attorney claims the students where “kind of hooked by promises of credits for their previous master’s programs.”

It is important to note that entrapment or sting operations raise ethical concerns that can be used as an argument against prosecutors.

ICE even listed the fake Univeristy of Farminton as a certified school where international students could enroll, and kept social media postings notifying students on class cancellations due to snow storms and upcoming admission fairs, according with Antonia Noori Farzan reporting for the Washington Post.

It seems that ICE spent a lot of time creating and maintaining the fake University of Farmington appearing as a legitimate one.

Marcos E. Garciaacosta is a business attorney based in Arizona taking immigration law cases. As a former receipient of H-1B visa, he knows how to navigate immigration processes. Call us to schedule an appointment for a consultation.  

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