A particular website featured a university in another state. Students enrolled in the school, including many who happened to be immigrants. It has now been disclosed that the school is fake and was set up by U.S. immigration law officials, in particular the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The situation has led to the arrest of a Florida man, who is accused, along with several others, of conspiring to help hundreds of foreign nationals remain in the United States without proper documentation.
In order to study in the United States, an immigrant student must have a proper visa. Once the visa is obtained and a student enrolls in an approved university, he or she must stay in school and progress toward a degree. The man and others who were arrested are accused of conspiring to carry out a pay-to-stay scheme where they received kickbacks for helping other students enroll in the fake university.
Immigration officials say they believe the defendants knowingly accepted cash to help portray other immigrants as legitimate college students when they knew they were not. The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly been investigating the situation for several years. Officials say the purpose of creating a fake university was to flush out the recruiters and others who were committing supposed immigration fraud.
U.S. immigration law typically requires visa-holding immigrants who do not stay in school and progress in their studies to leave the country after 60 days. Officials say the university in question was not staffed with any faculty nor did any classes take place there. The 29-year-old Florida man who was arrested has since been indicted along with seven others, ranging in ages from 26 to 35, for helping to enroll people in a university that does not, in fact, exist. It is a complicated situation because the fake university’s website advertises for enrollment as though it is an authentically-established school.