A former federal immigration investigator says the announcement of a crackdown on visa fraud – and the use of a fake university to make it happen – sounds like a creative idea. But AJ Irwin wonders if the feds might have done even more with what they learned, and the people they identified. News coverage this week detailed the University of Northern New Jersey, which came complete with a website, a Latin-laden seal and a list of business degrees. But it was all fake, a mirage created by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to snare those who act as recruiters and commit visa fraud involving students. Irwin, who worked for ICE’s predecessor – the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) – says the number of those recruiters arrested in the sting, 21, seems rather low for an operation that began in 2012. What’s more, since the scheme reportedly involved 1,000 students, he wonders what information the agents may have gathered if they had grabbed some of the students as well.
There’s no telling what sort of information the ‘students’ may have had, “ Irwin says. “My preference – I’d arrest them and interview them. You can learn an awful lot from them and maybe even identify some additional defendants, material witnesses – maybe even threats to our Homeland. Doing it this way is kind of a notice that tells them they should run – right now.