I've previously posted about the "University of Farmington," the fake college pyramid scheme sting operation that ICE set up in order to seduce and capture devious immigrants of various statuses who had the gall to, uhh … want to go to college.
Most of the coverage on this story originates comes from Niraj Warikoo at the Detroit Free Press:
The latest update shares some transcripts from undercover recordings, obtained by the Free Press, that shed light on the alleged entrapment techniques that ICE employed to trick immigrants into attending their fake university, and then engaging in the recruitment scams that were allegedly "required" in order for the students to maintain their statuses with said university:
In February 2018, a foreign student from India called a university in metro Detroit to ask when classes would start.
"University of Farmington, office of admissions," answered a woman who posed as a university official. The woman was actually an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"Is there any chance to get me ... to know about my class schedule?" the student asked the university official, according to court records.
"Can we do what?" the undercover agent posing as a university official replied. "We're completely full. We don't have any normal classes to put you in. We are just helping you maintain your status by allowing you to enroll here, but you won't be taking any online classes, nor will you be going to any classes. Are you aware of this?"
Sounding confused, the student replied: "I don't know that actually. ... I don't know what to do now."
The US Attorney's Office in Detroit alleges that the University of Farmington was an illegal for-profit entrapment scheme; ICE and the US Department of Justice continue to insist that they were being fiscally responsible by covering operation costs, and that they just happened to find immigrant students who were eager and willing to participate in a pyramid scheme in order to maintain their immigration statuses. In other words, they claim that the students wanted to attend a fake university and recruit other immigrants to enroll in order to deliberately cheat the system — as opposed to the other possibility, that these immigrants were just eager to remain in the States, and unfamiliar with the country's obscenely complex immigration laws.
There's more detail on the recordings over at the Free Press website.
Undercover ICE recordings reveal tactics of fake Farmington University [Niraj Warikoo / Detroit Free Press]
Image via Master Steve Rappaport / Flickr