Many immigrants to the United States find that one of the most exciting opportunities they can have is to receive an education from specialty school or university. A completed degree can create a path to longtime employment and even a life of personal fulfillment.
Many international students looking to learn a trade can study in American universities on F-1 Visas once they are accepted into a school. To keep this status however, the student needs to stay enrolled full-time and the school must be legitimate. However, recently at the University of Farmington in the state of Michigan, neither of these requirements were being followed. The university had been set up as a sting operation to apprehend students who were using the fake University as a means of staying in the country.
University with tuition but no classes
The university while not offering classes or any type of meaningful education did offer something very valuable, proof that they were enrolled full-time in a university. This designation allowed those enrolled to live in the United States and work on a student visa. Students paid tuition regularly just like a normal university.
The mythical university began in 2015 and was run by federal agents of the Homeland Security division who posed as staff. So far eight people who were recruiting students all over the country to be part of this pay-to-stay scheme have been arrested. The charges ranged from conspiracy, immigration fraud to helping to enroll students in exchange for money. It is not yet known how many students have been arrested, but it is likely to be in the hundreds.
More the deportation
The students who were enrolled in the fake university are likely to face more harsh penalties than just deportation. While some of the students have already left the country, others remain in ICE detention or have been released to appear before an immigration judge. However, due to changes in immigration policy, those that did not leave the country prior to a specific date after apprehension may not be allowed back into the country for years.