The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is defending its use of a fake university to conduct a sting operation that targeted foreign-born students. ICE created the “University of Farmington” through its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit to arrest students for immigration and visa fraud.
ICE is now saying that their operation was mischaracterized as they defend the use of the fake university.
“Over the past few weeks, the University of Farmington (Farmington), an undercover investigation run by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), has been the focus of several media reports,” the agency’s acting deputy director Derek Benner said in a letter to news agencies, according to Newsweek. “These reports mischaracterized the purpose and rationale for the investigation, and I want to set the record straight.
“HSI is responsible for enforcing more than 400 federal statutes, including laws related to the student visa system. An estimated 1.2 million nonimmigrant students studied at more than 8,200 U.S. schools during 2018, promoting cultural exchange, providing billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, and contributing to research and development.”
A majority of the foreign-born students were from India, with many of the arrested students being deported to their home country. Some of the students are contesting their removal from the country, however, after being duped by the school that offered graduate programs in technology and computer studies.
Predictably, attorneys for the students who were arrested believe they were unfairly trapped by the government.
7 of 8 recruiters at the fake school were charged and pleaded guilty.
The Department of Homeland Security has since taken the official website for the University of Farmington offline with a new landing page that simply reads: The University of Farmington has been closed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”