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US Court Rules That Students At Fake University Created By ICE Can Sue 

Students of a fake university set up by federal immigration agents can sue the U.S. government, a federal court has ruled. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided that students who paid tuition at the University of Farmington, created by ICE agents, have a legal basis to pursue their claims. In 2020, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by Teja Ravi and others, asserting that the U.S. breached their contract by taking their tuition money, about $11,000 annually. The Claims Court dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds in 2022, but the Appeals Court overturned this decision on June 25, remanding it back to the Claims Court.

Prudhivi Raj, a student, expressed that the decision is "not just a legal win, but a moral one," emphasizing fairness and honesty. ICE did not comment on the ruling. The operation, starting in 2015, involved creating a fake university listed on ICE's website, deceiving over 600 students, mostly immigrants from India, on F-1 visas. The students were arrested or deported, accused of trying to "pay to stay" in the U.S., a claim they deny.

Attorney Anna Nathanson highlighted the personal and financial burdens on families, stating, "The need for justice is urgent." The fake university was incorporated in Michigan in 2016 and listed as legitimate by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Ravi paid $12,500 in tuition and became suspicious when classes did not start, but university officials reassured him.

The judges noted that Ravi never received his money back, stating, "The allegations of fact we accept as true for purposes of this appeal are straightforward." They acknowledged that Ravi expected to take classes but was unaware the university was a DHS undercover operation.

Students claim entrapment, but ICE defended its actions, with former agent Vance Callender asserting that potential enrollees were informed the school offered no programs. Public outrage followed the arrests, with politicians like Elizabeth Warren criticizing ICE for deceiving and entrapping students. In 2022, 40 civil rights groups called for an investigation into the operation. Nathanson stated the ruling could set a legal precedent for government overreach in private contracts.


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