In order to apprehend suspects who allegedly recruit undocumented immigrants using student visas as their permit to stay in the US, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement created a fake university around Detroit as a trap to catch these suspects.
On Monday, up to 8 suspects were charged for “harboring aliens for profit“ and for suspicion of visa fraud.
The fake university, the University of Farmington was established in 2015 by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of a covert operation.
According to the lawsuit against the suspects, the university had no academic staff neither had it any curriculum. It had no actual classes nor any academic/educational activities conducted in it.
A US Attorney said in a statement that the charges developed out of a conspiracy that allegedly started in 2017.
This Attorney, who is in Michigan’s Eastern District, said that according to the indictments, running from around February 2017 to January 2019. The defendants who are foreign citizens conspired together to mastermind and organized a visa fraud where they helped hundreds of foreigners in the US who overstayed their visas or whose visas were close to expiration to remain in the country.
The recruited their clients and enrolled them in a metro Detroit private university. Unknown to them, the university was not real and was run by HSI special agents who were using it for an undercover operation.
The suspects get their clients by scouting for the hundreds of students who stay in the country illegally and offer to help them remain stateside by collaborating with the supposed university authorities to enroll them in the school. Through this means, they get fraudulent evidence to prove their compliance with visa regulations.
These recruiters sometimes earn thousands of dollars by agents for enrolling students.
Suspects could face a 5-year jail term
According to the Office of the US Attorney, the defendants could be sentenced to five years imprisonment in federal prison if found guilty.
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