ICE has arrested a total of about 250 foreign students using a fake university in Detroit in a string operation.
Newsweek reports that immigration attorney Bill Hing believes the students may have an argument for entrapment.
“I’m not surprised at this,” Bill Hing, general counsel at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and professor of law and migration studies at the University of San Francisco, told Newsweek about the operation. “The one thing that [President Donald] Trump did when he came in is that he pretty much unleashed local ICE directors to do whatever they want.”
When asked if the operation rises to the level of entrapment, Hing said he believed the government may be in trouble. Entrapment is when people are not normally inclined to do something criminal but do so when they’re presented with something that’s not legally proper by law enforcement.
“I do think [the students] have a good argument that they would never have done this if they knew that what they were about to enter into was something fraudulent. I think that’s going to be a problem for the government,” Hing said.
A total of about 250 students have now been arrested since January on immigration violations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of a sting operation by federal agents who enticed foreign-born students, mostly from India, to attend the school that marketed itself as offering graduate programs in technology and computer studies, according to ICE officials.
Many of those arrested have been deported, while others are contesting their removals. One has been allowed to stay after being granted lawful permanent resident status by an immigration judge.
The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January. The school was staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials.
Out of the approximately 250 students arrested on administrative charges, “nearly 80% were granted voluntary departure and departed the United States,” the Detroit office of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations told the Free Press in a statement Tuesday.
Of the remaining 20%, about half have received a final order of removal; some were ordered removed by an immigration judge, and others “were given an expedited removal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” HSI Detroit said.
The remaining 10% “have either filed for some sort of relief or are contesting their removals with Executive Office for Immigration Review,” HSI Detroit said.