Below in navy blue is an official statement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting deputy director about the faux University of Farmington. (Remember the last sting operation in 2013, the University of Northern New Jersey?) Here are the questions – in no particular order – that I would ask Mr. Benner, if I could.
- How much did ICE, which has an annual budget of $6 billion, make from the students who “enrolled” in its fake university?
- Instead of investing valuable staff time and taxpayer dollars in creating a fake university for the purpose of entrapping international students, whether co-conspirators or not, so you can arrest and deport them, why not investigate existing institutions of higher education, including some that are nationally accredited and some rogue providers (unaccredited) that may be engaged in visa fraud and other illegal activity? (I know that’s a rhetorical question right now because Betsy DeVos and the current administration have their back$.)
- Didn’t consular officers technically break the law by issuing F-1 visas to U of F students? (Just following orders, I guess, like good soldiers.)
- What about the substantial numbers of international students who violate the terms of their visa and simply disappear into the population, essentially using the F-1 as a backdoor means of illegal emigration? (That’s a story waiting to be written by an investigative reporter.)
- Among those students who were not co-conspirators, I wish a group of them would file a class action lawsuit against ICE. (OK, not a question but a heartfelt wish.)
ICE Acting Deputy Director sets the record straight on fraud investigations involving undercover schools
Acting Deputy Director Derek Benner addresses the public misconceptions about ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ use of undercover schools —specifically the University of Farmington—to identify and disrupt attempts by foreign students and recruiters to exploit the non-immigrant student visa system to remain in the country through fraud.
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. 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. Criminals and some students, however, exploit the student visa system, allowing foreign nationals to remain in the United States in violation of their nonimmigrant status.
Follow this link to read the op-ed in its entirety and watch a related video, if you dare.
Shalom (שלום), MAA