DHS Sets Up Phony College, Nets Thousands in Phony Visa Sting

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Paul Fishman, US Attorney and not a close friend of Chris Christie
Paul Fishman, US Attorney and not a close friend of Chris Christie
Paul Fishman, US Attorney and not a close friend of Chris Christie
The University of Northern New Jersey offers nine graduate programs – pretty impressive for a school that doesn’t actually exist. Fake colleges like that one have led to a mass arrest of 21 people in connection with a fraudulent student visa ring.

Twenty-one people were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring with 1,000 foreign nationals to maintain fake student and work visas. The suspects, mostly American citizens of Chinese and Indian backgrounds, were caught when they attempted to obtain visas for individuals by having them enroll in a university – specifically the University of Northern New Jersey, a school run by undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Security, The Record reported.

The defendants were not attempting to better themselves at the University of Northern New Jersey, but rather trying to take advantage of “sham visa mills,” as US Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul J. Fishman put it on Tuesday.

These schools were set up to exchange money for certificates of eligibility that show a foreigner is a full-time student, which is necessary for people applying for a student visa.

None of the 1,000 students involved in the operation have been charged with anything, according to The Record. However, they have been placed under administrative arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for their alleged complicity in the scheme, WTVD reported.

Now that the “students’” visas are invalid, they will likely be deported to their countries of origin. Many of them are from China and India, but previously entered the country legally to attend a – hopefully real – university.

By posing as corrupt school officials, the brainchild of the undercover Homeland Security agents soon caught the attention of many visa brokers.

Once word got out, brokers descended on the school, clamoring to enroll their foreign student clients,” Fishman said in describing the University of Northern New Jersey’s reception.

The brokers created false student transcripts and diplomas in order to trick immigration officials, CNN Money reported.

The phony work papers managed to get some people into very good positions. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and even the US military were found to have hired employees who had used fake paperwork for visas.

The brokers’ arrest is the result of a three-year investigation. A year and a half ago, ABC News found that the Department of Homeland Security had lost track of over 6,000 foreign nationals that had entered the US on student visas.

Brokers charged fees starting at approximately $1,000 to $1,500, authorities told The Record. However, the “students” were paying out much more than that.

Other defendants charged their clients thousands of dollars and then the defendants made sham tuition payments directly to the university,” Fishman, the US attorney for the district of New Jersey, told the Record.

Brokers from New Jersey, New York, and Washington were all arrested, and dozens of schools came under suspicion of participating in the “pay to stay” scheme, as Fishman called it.

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Over 680,000 US green cards went to immigrants from Muslim nations since 2009

© Jim Watson
The Department of Homeland Security said 680,000 green cards were issued to immigrants from Muslim-majority countries from 2009 to 2013. Among the recipients were refugees, prompting one US senator to call for a reduction.

The data, which comes from the DHS’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, shows the top countries for green card recipients were Pakistan, Iraq, and Bangladesh. Over five years, 83,000 cards were issued to citizens of Pakistan and Iraq, and 75,000 to people from Bangladesh.

The documents were submitted to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest in November of 2015 and released to the press by the subcommittee’s chairman, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama).

“Among those receiving green cards are individuals admitted to the United States as refugees, who must apply for adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident (green card) status within one year of admission,” said Sessions in a press release. “Refugees have instant access to federal welfare entitlements, along with local benefits and education services; these costs are not offset.”

Sessions endorsed his party’s presidential front-runner Donald Trump in February, and has joined the candidate’s team of foreign policy advisors since then.

Sessions said that if no changes are made to the policy, the US can expect to issue green cards to another 680,000 immigrants from these countries in the next five years.
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“To curb this extreme level of future immigration growth, as a supermajority of voters wish, will require Congress to take up and pass a bill to reduce the number of visas issued on autopilot each and every year,” said Sessions.
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A breakdown of the data for a specific year tells a rather different story, however. In 2013, 530,802 green card recipients, about 54 percent of the total, were status adjusters – people who were already living in the United States before 2013, but whose green card applications were approved that year, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
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Of those, 44 percent were immediate relatives of US citizens, 21 percent had taken advantage of a family-sponsored preference, and 16 percent received their green card through an employment-based preference. Another 12 percent were adjusted from refugee or asylee status, and 5 percent were diversity-lottery winners.

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The top five countries of birth for new green cards in 2013 were Mexico (14 percent), China and India (7 percent each), the Philippines (5 percent), and the Dominican Republic (4 percent).
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