Bossip Video

Confident teenage girl taking test

Source: asiseeit / Getty

Homeland Security Operated This Fake University For Years

It might just be easier to go to school where your parents or your older sibling did from now–that is, if you wanna make sure you’re attending a real college.

Newly unsealed court documents revealed that the University of Farmington Hills–which is advertised online even now as a “nationally accredited business and STEM institution” in a suburb of Detroit–was, in reality, a sting operation. The whole thing was run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement meant to lure immigrants on student visas into knowingly paying for fraudulent paperwork in order to stay in the country, the Detroit News reported on Wednesday.

This whole hoax began back in 2015 but later intensified in 2017 after Trump’s inauguration, which resulted in the arrests of eight student “recruiters.” These arrests follow said recruiters allegedly taking in a collective $250,000 in profit in exchange for finding and helping at least 600 other students—mostly from India—to get in on the scheme.

According to the federal grand jury indictments, both the recruiters and the students they found knew the university was operating an illegal scheme, but they did not realize it was actually run by ICE. These same student recruiters were also accused of helping the fraudulent students get the paperwork the students needed to be able to stay in the country from the university.

Starting in 2017, ICE agents began posing as officials at the university, which didn’t have a campus at all, but rather, a small office in a corporate park. The school was legitimized by The Department of Homeland Security, who named the University of Farmington on its list of certified schools for international students. “Our innovative curriculum combines traditional instruction and distance learning with fulltime professional experiences,” the website promises. “We offer flexible class schedules and a focus on students who do not want to interrupt their careers.”

A small number of students who joined in on the scheme asked to be paid for recruiting other fake students, and met several times with university officials who later turned out to be undercover ICE agents. Most of the students they recruited had actually arrived in the country on legal, valid student visas and then transferred to Farmington Hills. The students paid the university several thousands of dollars to get the paperwork proving they were full-time students and then proceeded to go along with their regular lives afterward.

The eight recruiters in question were charged with harboring aliens for profit and conspiracy to commit visa fraud and face a maximum of five years in prison. The other fraudulent students who were arrested are facing deportation.

As other reports point out, this is not the first time a fake university has been created as bait for visa fraud. Back in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security announced it had charged 21 people with student and work visa fraud after establishing a fake University of Northern New Jersey.


Bossip Comment Policy
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.