Homeland Security Created A Fake University In Michigan As Part Of Immigration Sting
Pasricha & Patel Takeaways:
The Department of Homeland Security set up an undercover operation in which it set up a fake university called the University of Farmington based out of an office in Farmington Hills, Michigan to entice F-1 students who wanted to remain in the U.S. and obtain work authorization via Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program. The federal indictment was unsealed on January 31, 2019 by the Department of Justice to reveal that there are six (6) individuals who were charged with conspiracy to assist with more than 600 foreign nationals to remain illegally in the U.S. as F-1 students and work in the U.S., while those same foreign students were allegedly informed upfront by the undercover DHS agents who were posing as university officials that they would not be attending any classes or earning any academic credits, and that they can simply pay fees to the university and then be eligible for CPT and work in the U.S.
This sting operation is not unlike the similar operation that the DHS had set up back in 2016 for a fake university called the University of Northern New Jersey, and it resulted in the indictments of various brokers, recruiters, and employers across the U.S.
For the F-1 students who are impacted by this university, either knowingly or unknowingly about the university’s operational intent, the DHS has either already informed them to leave the U.S. immediately, or if they have not done so, they will fact immigration consequences, such as having their SEVIS records terminated by DHS, and then followed by the issuances of Notice of Intent to Appear (NTA) and be placed in immigration proceedings, which will most likely result in removal from the U.S. And unfortunately, for any F-1 student who may have been part of this university program, they will also face difficulties in any future visa applications and any type of immigration benefit filings with the USCIS because questions regarding their F-1 status here in the U.S. will arise and it will be very difficult to overcome such doubts by the USCIS.
As general advice to any and all foreign nationals who are considering pursuing academic studies in the U.S., and for those who may have been unknowingly caught up in this undercover operation, we do urge everyone to exercise caution and judgment before taking any steps to either come to the U.S. or trying to remain here in the U.S.
Please be wary of overly optimistic promises or unrealistic claims that would somehow allow the foreign national to remain in the U.S. and work as well. If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.