Some immigrant students who enrolled at the University of Farmington in Michigan may have neglected to fully investigate the nature of the school before applying for admission. Undercover agents working for the Department of Homeland Security created a fake academic institution. The Detroit Free Press reports on how the phony Michigan university was set up and designed to lure foreign students to apply. This was done so that U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement officials could then target and arrest the recruiters who help immigrants to remain in the United States illegally. Students who hoped to remain in the U.S. longer than legally permitted were also targeted.

ICE agents expected foreign national students to enroll at the Farmington school because it would provide them with an opportunity to remain in the U.S. longer than they were already allowed to stay. By enrolling at the fake university, immigrants would also be able to apply for jobs through the school’s unique student work visa known as the Curricular Practical Training program. At least 600 foreign students enrolled in the fraudulent school, and the indictment states that they paid their tuition in full for the sole purpose of being able to stay in the United States. It has been estimated that close to 100 of the enrolled students were arrested and detained in four cities across the U.S.

If you are a foreign national and are considering enrollment in an American university, it may be in your best interests to be certain both the school and its recruiters are legitimate. In the case of the Farmington school, prosecutors claim immigrant students had no intention of taking courses or graduating with a degree, but were only looking for a way to beat the immigration system. Some of the enrollees, however, may have genuinely believed that they would have been devoted and fully committed students working towards academic credentials when they applied to the university.

This information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.