Hello, My Fellow Dreamers. Attorney Ahmad Yakzan the leader of the American Dream Team® At the American Dream® Law Office. Please take a second to like us and share this video on YouTube Twitter and Facebook if you Like it and give us some comments to get some feedback from you. I would like to talk to you about the University of Farmington today.
So today, I want to talk to you about something that has been happening recently that I have been seeing in the news. I want to talk to you about staying in F-1 Status and in some way check on the institution that you are enrolled in so you won’t fall into the problem of being at an unaccredited institution. Recently you probably heard about the fake universities that ICE, which is Immigration & Customs Enforcement has been establishing around the country to catch some people for committing fraud and placing some students in removal proceedings. I want to talk to you about one of these universities called the University of Farmington. After I am done, if you have some friends or anyone who you know who has enrolled at one of these universities, I would appreciate the referral and give them my number which is 1(888)963-7326. I will discuss the F1 student status with you and after that, I will tell you how to transfer between institutions the safe way so you don’t end up in removal proceedings and you don’t end up losing your status in the United States.
You might be wondering what is an F-1 student visa? The F-1 visa allows you to come here to the United States and study at an accredited institution. For example, I came into the United States to come here to what used to be called Brevard Community College ended up enrolling and getting an AA degree then transferring to a 4-year college which is Stetson University. All of these institutions gain their accreditation from the Department of Homeland Security. The institutions submit paperwork to the Department and the Department will accredit them to host international students. Some of the things the Department of Homeland Security asks for is what kind of student body they have, are the more likely to have students that will stay here after they finish their studies. SO there a lot of things they ask for and the accreditation process is very cumbersome. Suffice it to say your student who wants to come here and study English, Sciences, or anything like that you have to apply for an F-1 visa. You can apply for that overseas or you can apply here in the United States if you have legal status.
You might be wondering how do I do that? The first step is to apply to an institution and get accepted. Universities vary in their requirements. If you are trying to apply to Harvard University, the requirements are different from applying to a Community College. SO the first step is to apply to the institution and the institution will issue form I-20, which is the immigration form you need to apply for the visa at the consulate or apply for a change of status if you are in the United States. After applying for the status, you can start taking classes.
After you are done with your program, there is a program called Optional Practical Training, which allows you to work for one year after you graduate. So you get that after each successively higher level of education. So if you get a BA, you get one year and then finish a Master’s degree you get one year and so on. Some students who graduate from STEM programs get 27 months to work in the US, with the hope that they get a job that would help them remain here in the United States. A lot of people either get married or apply for an H1-B visa which some of those visas allow you to do. But with a nonimmigrant visa like the F1, you can not have immigrant intent but you can with other visas like the H1B.
ICE has had a program for a couple of years now where they establish fake universities. So, you go online, you check for a University that allows you to enroll because it has been accredited by the United States government to transfer your visa from one institution to another. You may transfer your F1 status from the institution to the other. So, if you get your bachelor’s degree at one university, you can transfer your visa to a different institution to begin your Master’s. ICE has found that some universities lose their accreditation because they no longer meet the requirements. The government found out that some students, the majority of whom are from India, are enrolled at these institutions. The aw gives you 60 days grace period to transfer to another university without being out of status. Immigration established universities that are fake. These universities would have beautiful websites with students taking classes and would trick these transferring students into enrolling to keep their status.
One of these institutions was called the University of Farmington and I think by now they arrested almost 600 Indian students, the majority of whom were placed in removal proceedings if they had not left the country. They also arrested some of the recruiters who were getting these students to enroll in the University of Farmington. The recruiters were charged with committing immigration and visa fraud. The government has been arguing that the student lost his or her status because they transferred to the University of Farmington. The tricky issue is that a lot of these students did not know that it was a fake university. The students were making regular tuition payments, $2500 every three months to stay in status. Most of them did not know that the university was fake but were placed in removal proceedings regardless. Some students who went through the removal proceedings now have a lifetime ban, meaning they can not come back to the United States for a very long time.
If you are one of these students who want to transfer their status from one university to the other, I would speak to an immigration attorney or the Designated School Official (DSO) to check on the new institution’s status. Also, make sure that the new institution has professors that make you go to class everyday in person and not online. This was one of the issues at the University of Farmington, these students were told that they will be taking classes online, which you might know will lead to you losing your visa. The government recently moved to invalidate status for students who will be attending online classes in the fall online because of COVID-19 and backed off after they were sued. This should have been a red flag for these students at the University of Farmington, but many of them did not know the rules.
So, if you are trying to transfer to a new institution, you should do your due diligence. You need to check on the University, and if possible, go to their campus before transferring. If you are in removal proceedings or know someone in removal proceedings after enrolling in one of these institutions, please give us a call of call an immigration attorney. As you know our number is 1(888)96-DREAM and you can give us a call 24/7 to schedule a strategy session with me.
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