ICE claims that its operations have escalated under Trump, citing an increase of 117% in "administrative arrests in 2018 compared to 2017.
The operation, commenced in 2015, has been conducted with the intention of catching illegal aliens who have overstayed their visas or were otherwise seeking to aid or abet visa fraud. Specifically, according to Fox News, government documents unsealed this week allege that eight individuals were charged with "help[ing] 600 undocumented immigrants...enroll in the fake university in exchange for cash, kickbacks and tuition credits."
The Detroit News originally broke news of the operation on Wednesday. The News cited President Trump's 2016 election as a leading reason for the sting operation's intensification.
The student recruiters who were charged allegedly helped foreign nationals obtain fraudulent visa documents and create bogus student records, according to documents filed by federal prosecutors.
The Michigan sting operation is not the only recent instance of ICE creating a fake "university" for purposes of aiding its immigration law enforcement efforts. In 2016, an ICE crackdown upon the idyllically named — but nonetheless also fictitious — "University of Northern New Jersey" resulted in the arrest of 21 individuals on student and work visa charges, according to Newsweek.