The federal government says it has arrested about 250 foreigners who knowingly enrolled at a phony school in suburban Detroit so they could remain in the US, the AP reports. The Detroit Free Press reports that nearly 80% of those have voluntarily left the country. The Homeland Security Investigations Detroit office told the newspaper Tuesday that about half of those remaining have received final orders of removal; others are appealing their removal, and one has been granted lawful permanent resident status. Ninety of the arrests were made in recent months, after the initial January sting.
The Department of Homeland Security created the University of Farmington, which has offices in Farmington Hills, but no classes or teachers. Federal indictments say recruiters were paid to help foreigners maintain their status as "students" and get work permits. The newspaper reports that seven of eight recruiters charged by the government pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. The eighth person will be sentenced in January. The students arrived in the US legally, on student visas, and attorneys for them say the US government trapped them by listing the university as legitimate in various places. One attorney calls the students "vulnerable people who just wanted to maintain (legal immigration) status," and says the government made "a lot of money" off them in tuition. (Read more immigration stories.)