ICE has now arrested 250 foreign students who enrolled in its fake university

Tim O'Donnell

A controversial sting operation involving a fake university has resulted in dozens of arrests in recent months.

Set up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to expose student visa fraud, the phony Michigan college has resulted in about 90 more arrests in recent months, bringing the total up to 250, The Detroit Free Press reports.

Those arrested are all foreign students — many of them from India — who were enticed by federal agents to attend the University of Farmington for graduate programs in technology and computer studies. The problem was the school turned out to be a fake one staffed by agents posing as university officials.

The students arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but they lost their immigration status when the university was closed in January. Most of the students were reportedly granted voluntary departures and have left the U.S., while some have received a final order of removal, and others reportedly "have either filed for some sort of relief or are contesting their removals with Executive Office for Immigration Review."

The students' attorneys have argued the operation was entrapment because the DHS listed the university as legitimate on its website, as did an accreditation agency that was working with the government. Rahul Reddy, a Texas attorney who represented some of the students, told the Free Press that the U.S. "preyed upon" the "vulnerable" students.

ICE and the Justice Department, however, laid the blame on the students, arguing they should have known a university with no physical location for classes was illegitimate. "If it were truly about obtaining an education, the university would not have been able to attract anyone," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms wrote in a sentencing memo for one of the university's recruiters. Read more at The Detroit Free Press.

More stories from
NBC's Chuck Todd was flabbergasted by a Republican senator's claim that the former Ukrainian president worked for Hillary Clinton
The Democratic primary’s generational divide
What the Moomins can tell us about fighting climate despair