In what is said to be the largest deportment by the USCIS ( the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), 306 Indian students, who enrolled at the University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ), reportedly a fake university in New Jersey, are all set to be deported back to India soon.
UNNJ, in Cranford, New Jersey, misrepresented itself as a school with the authority to issue Form I-20 documents. These documents certify that an overseas citizen has been admitted into a school, where s/he would pursue academic activities as a full-time student. This process facilitates students from other countries to get an F-1 student visa in the USA.
This massive student visa scam included 21 brokers, employers and recruiters, most of them Indian Americans or Chinese Americans, from across the US. They had acted in connivance with over 1,000 foreigners to deceptively keep up student visas and procure foreign worker visas via a ‘Pay-to-Stay’ scheme employed by the New Jersey college. They were all arrested by federal agents on April 5.
Among the defendants were 10 Indian Americans, who were arrested from New Jersey and Washington by US ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), HSI. They have been charged with 14 counts of misconduct, including ‘conspiring to indulge in visa fraud’, ‘plotting to harbor foreigners for profit’.
Complaints filed stated that most of the defendants were running recruiting agencies for alleged international students, leading to their arrest. The bogus institution, which was created without the knowledge of the foreign students and defendants who connived with them, was set up in September 2013.
The fake institution did not enroll instructors or educators, neither had any curriculum nor conducted any classes or educational programs.
According to USCIS officials, as part of the federal authorities’ sting operation, they identified and traced these students who had violated immigration rules.
A spokesman for the USCIS Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) told PTI that these 306 ‘offenders’ were in the process of removal as per due procedure.
This is why it is suggested that students should make comprehensive enquiries before applying to universities abroad and not be misled by fly-by-night immigrant visa consultancies.