The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the United States has arrested 250 students who enrolled in a fake university set up by federal authorities as part of an immigration raid.
The Detroit Free Press reported on Wednesday, that hundreds of foreign students and recruiters were arrested after enrolling in the University of Farmington, a fake college the Department of Homeland Security established as part of a sting operation to apprehend and prosecute students committing visa and immigration fraud.
Among 250 arrested many were from India, who had lost their visas. They have since been arrested on charges of immigration and visa fraud.
ICE officials told the outlet that out of the 250 students, “nearly 80% were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States,” while other 20% of students caught up in the sting have either received official deportation orders or are fighting in court to stay in the United States.
The outlet also reported that seven out of eight individuals who prosecutors identified as recruiters for the fake university have pleaded guilty to charges that they facilitated a conspiracy to commit and facilitate visa fraud by helping nearly 600 students obtain falsified transcripts and records from the university to secure student visas.
The grand jury indictment filed against the eight recruiters alleged that “the University was being used by foreign citizens as a ‘pay to stay’ scheme which allowed these individuals to stay in the United States as a result of foreign citizens falsely asserting that they were enrolled as full-time students in an approved educational program and that they were making normal progress toward completion of the course of study.”
The fake university which was created in 2015 as a component of “Operation Paper Chase”, was part of a wider crackdown on illegal immigration and visa fraud.