Immigration Set Up Fake College to Catch Violators

May 11, 2016

I have been practicing immigration law for 30 years.  This is totally a new one for me.

 

Ever heard of the University of Northern New Jersey?  The school's website appeared real.  It offered both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.  It issued I-20 for foreign students to come to the US.  There were more than 1000 foreign students actually "attended" the college on student visas. 

 

But the college was a fake.  It never held any classes and didn't have any professors.  It was staffed 100% by US Immigration and Custom's Enforcement (ICE) agents, set up solely for the purposes of uncovering a visa fraud scam. 

 

Twenty-one brokers, recruiters, and employers were arrested in April for allegedly conspiring with over 1,000 foreign students to fraudulently obtain student visas.  The defendants enabled the students to fraudulently maintain their student status in the US on the false pretense that they would continue to participate in full courses of study at UNNJ.

 

The "students" have not been arrested, but their visas will be terminated and they will likely have to leave the country.  Although I have not issues with the recruiters, I am concerned with the students. Many of them might have been taken advantage of by the recruiters. 

 

Does this whole thing appear incredible to you?  There is nothing wrong with US immigration trying to enforce immigration law.  However, setting up a fake university just to catch visa violators appears to be just too outlandish to me.  

 

Entrapment is a defense to criminal charges when it is established that the government agent originated the idea of the crime and induced the accused to engage in it.  The rationale underlying the defense is to deter law enforcement officers from engaging in reprehensible conduct by inducing persons not disposed to commit crimes to engage in criminal activity. 

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