More than 250 immigrants arrested at fake college set up by ICE in Michigan

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U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

When people say, "Fuck ICE," this is what they mean.

As previously reported, the agency set up a fake college staffed by undercover agents in Farmington Hills to ensnare and deport immigrants, mostly from India. The total number of arrests made from the sting operation now number at some 250, according to The Detroit Free Press.

The students arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but lost their immigration status after it was revealed the University of Farmington was a sham. Many have since been deported back to India.

Attorneys for ICE argue the students should have known it was not a legitimate university because it did not have classes.



"Their true intent could not be clearer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms wrote in a sentencing memo earlier this month. "While 'enrolled' at the University, one hundred percent of the foreign citizen students never spent a single second in a classroom. If it were truly about obtaining an education, the University would not have been able to attract anyone, because it had no teachers, classes, or educational services."

But the agency went to great lengths to create the illusion of a legitimate school, even working with an accreditation agency to give it fake credentials. It was even incorporated as a business in 2016.

To add insult to injury, the fake school likely collected millions of dollars of tuition from the immigrants. The college cost about $12,000 in tuition and fees per year.

One immigrant, Prem Rampeesa, was sentenced for working as a recruiter to bring in more students to the fake school. Rampeesa previously entered the country legally on a student visa to earn a master's degree in computer science at Northwestern Polytechnic University in California, but after spending $40,000 in tuition and fees, the university lost its accreditation and his immigration status was in jeopardy. That's when he started working with what he thought were officials at the University of Farmington as a recruiter.



"He was desperate to find a way to stay in the United States," Rampeesa's attorney wrote in his sentencing memo.

The agency told the Freep that nearly 80 percent of the 250 arrested immigrants departed voluntarily. The rest have either been deported or are contesting their removal.

In July, it was reported that Michigan has the second highest rate of ICE arrests in the nation, according to a report recently released by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. From Fiscal Year 2017 to May 2018, ICE arrested 1,498 immigrants in Michigan, or 11.6 arrests per 1,000 undocumented immigrants. That number is about twice as high as the national average.

According to the report, Pennsylvania had the highest rate of arrests of immigrants at 25.6 per 1,000 undocumented immigrants.

The high number of immigrant arrests in Michigan is certainly aided by the fact that since the state is surrounded by water, the entire state is regarded as a "Border Zone," which grants ICE agents more powers.

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