ICE comes under fire for creating fake university to 'bait and arrest' foreign students with legal visas
People on social media are calling for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be abolished with #AbolishICE trending online after reports emerged that the federal agency created a fake university to lure foreign students and then deport them.
The Department of Homeland Security created a fake university called the University of Farmington and ICE officials used the institute to arrest nearly 250 foreign students since January, including 90 in recent months, according to the Detroit Free Press which released the report on Wednesday, November 27.
ICE officials reportedly told the newspaper that the university was marketed as offering technology and computer studies graduate degrees. Most of the students caught in the operation were Indians.
The Detroit office of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, in a statement to the outlet, said: "Nearly 80 percent were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States."
Out of the 20 percent of the remaining students, nearly half of them were given final orders of removal by an immigration judge while the other half contested their deportation orders.
The students had arrived legally in the US on student visas, however, they lost their immigration status in January after it was revealed that the University of Farmington was created by federal agents, and was shut down.
The reports outraged multiple social media users, including United We Dream, the first and largest immigration youth-led organization in the US.
The organization tweeted on Wednesday, writing: "All year, ICE has been running a fraudulent university to bait and arrest (mostly Indian) immigrants looking for a chance at higher education. They've arrested 250 people. This agency is vile. We need to #AbolishICE!"
A report on the fake university was also shared by author Patrick Tomlinson who tweeted a reference to President Donald Trump, saying: "Failed businessman ran a fake university to steal money from poor people, became a fake President, now creates fake universities to steal money and freedom from immigrants. This is beyond fascist. #AbolishICE."
"What the f*** was the point of this? How is this not entrapment?" he wrote in another tweet. "Arrest every one involved in this scam and then #AbolishICE." Tomlinson was making a reference to the Trump University run by the Trump Organization which was operated from 2005 to 2010.
The university has been accused of luring people to take a real estate course with the offer of instruction by real estate experts if they paid fees ranging from $1,495 for a one-year apprenticeship to $35,000 for Gold Elite classes.
Multiple people filed lawsuits claiming they had been deceived. The suits eventually turned into a class action suit which was settled in February 2018 for $25 million.