Illegal immigrants who pretended to be students applying for The University of Farmington in Michigan were in for a nasty surprise.
The fake university was made by the Department of Homeland Security to find and arrest people trying to stay in the U.S. illegally, according to a series of federal indictments unsealed Wednesday.
According to the Detroit Free Press, “Eight people were arrested and indicted in an immigration fraud case for conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit, said the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider.”
The imposter students were trying to take advantage of the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) visa program, which would have allowed them to work within the U.S. The recruiters involved provided the students with fraudulent immigration documents and fake student records so that they could take advantage of the university’s “pay to stay” scheme, according to Detroit News.
The students knew the program was illegal, but they didn’t know they were playing into the DHS’s hands.
The “university’s” website is designed to look legitimate, although there are some parts to it that raise suspicion, such as the links to their social media. When you try clicking on the university’s Facebook or Twitter links at the top of its page, they both gather no results.
While the recruiters plotted their scheme from February 2017 to January 2019, helping a minimum of 600 people stay in the U.S. illegally, Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents were running the fake university operation.
“We are all aware that international students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended international student visa program can also be exploited and abused,” said Schneider.