DETROIT – About 90 additional foreign students at a fake university in metro Detroit created by the Department of Homeland Security have been arrested in recent months.
A total of about 250 students have now been arrested since January on immigration violations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of a sting operation by federal agents who enticed foreign-born students, mostly from India, to attend the school that marketed itself as offering graduate programs in technology and computer studies, according to ICE officials.
Many of those arrested have been deported, while others are contesting their removals. One has been allowed to stay after being granted lawful permanent resident status by an immigration judge.
The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January. The school was staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials.
Out of the approximately 250 students arrested on administrative charges, “nearly 80% were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States,” the Detroit office of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations told the Free Press in a statement Tuesday.
Of the remaining 20%, about half have received a final order of removal; some were ordered removed by an immigration judge, and others “were given an expedited removal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” HSI Detroit said.
The remaining 10% “have either filed for some sort of relief or are contesting their removals with Executive Office for Immigration Review,” HSI Detroit said.
ICE said in March that 161 students had been arrested, a number that has now grown to about 250.
Meanwhile, seven of the eight recruiters who were criminally charged with trying to recruit students have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in Detroit. The remaining defendant will be sentenced in January.
Attorneys for the students arrested said that they were unfairly trapped by the U.S. government since the Department of Homeland Security had said on its website that the university was legitimate. An accreditation agency that was working with the U.S. on its sting operation also listed the university as legitimate.