Volume 34
Issue 3
Spring '20

Operation Paper Chase, ICE sting Operations, and the Case Against the University of Farmington: Arguing the Entrapment, Estoppel, and Outrageous Government Conduct Defenses in Immigration Court and Beyond

Written By: Joseph Tahbaz

Abstract

Between 2017 and 2019, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a sting operation through a fake school, the University of Farmington. This sting code named “Operation Paper Chase,” duped at least 600 foreign students into visa fraud. The University of Farmington was certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and endorsed by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The school had its own Facebook page, events calendar, and a voicemail box to the “Office of Admissions.” In an email to a prospective student, the university’s president described the school as an “accredited institution authorized . . . by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Recruiters for the University of Farmington lured foreign students who paid thousands of dollars in fees and tuition. Eager to learn about class offerings, some students even visited the university’s office in Farmington Hills, Michigan, but struggled to reach school representatives. The university reassured students that eventually classes would be held. In truth, it was a sham: there were no classes, no classrooms, and no teachers. The University of Farmington was nothing but an office space in a suburban business park with an elaborately orchestrated online presence. On January 15, 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan indicted six recruiters for the University of Farmington with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens fo profit. Within weeks over 100 students were placed into removal proceedings. Days after the local news reported the story, the University’s Facebook page posted a meme of the amphibious Star Wars alien Admiral Ackbar shouting, “It’s a trap.”

Continue Reading Operation Paper Chase, ICE sting Operations, and the Case Against the University of Farmington: Arguing the Entrapment, Estoppel, and Outrageous Government Conduct Defenses in Immigration Court and Beyond

Subscribe to GILJ