U.S. Government Used Fake University To Catch Visa Brokers, Swept Up Students Too

To root out the education brokers who guide international students to fake colleges that are only visa mills, the Department of Homeland Security set up its own fake university. Yet should the institution’s students, most of whom came from China and India, have known that the school wasn’t legit when it had full government approval and accreditation?

This spring, the University of Northern New Jersey was finally exposed as a fraud, but a fraud perpetrated by the federal government, meant to catch the brokers. These go-betweens charge students thousands of dollars to place them in programs that might keep them in the country. Many students simply paid their broker, who in turn paid the fake university. Were they simply well-meaning visitors or immigrants who thought that was just how things work here?

22 alleged brokers were arrested as a result of the sting, and they helped a total of 1,076 UNNJ “students” obtain visas, many of them using their status as UNNJ “students” to work in the United States. People who enrolled had typically come over to attend real colleges as normal international students, graduated, and wanted to find a way to stay longer, yet didn’t qualify for other visa programs.

Some of the students now claim that they didn’t really understand that enrolling in a school and not attending classes for years on end wasn’t normal. There are plenty of internships, co-op work programs, and online programs in this country, after all. The school was also fully accredited and was on the Department of Homeland Security’s list of approved schools to issue student visas.

Yet the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t believe this excuse, and the fake university’s forner students will face immigration hearings. They could be deported, or banned from immigrating to or even visiting the United States.

Students at Fake University Say They Were Collateral Damage in Sting Operation [New York Times]

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