In one of the most disturbing and shadiest moments in American history, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) created a fake university in Michigan to lure unsuspecting foreign students – and federal law enforcement agencies in Detroit are cosigning it.
According to Detroit Free Press, which is in conjunction with the USA TODAY Network, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and the head of the investigative division of ICE in Detroit both made statements on Friday saying the undercover operations targeting students at the University of Farmington in Farmington Hills were legitimate and aimed at fighting visa fraud.
Back in January, federal prosecutors announced that ICE agents would be secretly setting up the fake university that ended up with more than 600 foreign students enrolling into the school to study science and technology. The Department of Justice named the plot “pay to stay.” The number of students detained for immigration violations raised to 250. Since then, the barbaric tactic has caught the attention of, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., U.S. Sen. #KamalaHarris, D-Calif., former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed, and Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. #ElizabethWarren.
“This is cruel and appalling,” Warren said on Twitter. “These students simply dreamed of getting the high-quality higher education America can offer. ICE deceived and entrapped them, just to deport them.” U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin said Saturday that the scheme “raises a number of serious questions, and I’ll be following up to ensure they are answered.” Harris called it “cruel” and “a waste of taxpayer dollars. Officials must be held accountable for this,” she said. So far, some have called for House hearings, USA Today reports.
Vance Callender, special agent in charge of the Detroit office of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), said in a statement to the Free Press that “HSI special agents, as part of this undercover operation, made it abundantly clear in their interactions with potential University of Farmington enrollees that the school did not offer academic or vocational programs of any kind. The individuals who enrolled in the University of Farmington did so intentionally.” Nearly 80 percent of the 250 detained students have been removed from the U.S., said ICE. Most of the students arrived legally from India. They were on F-1 student visa programs when they enrolled at the university that was secretly staffed by undercover agents and had a fake website.