ICE agents created a fake university, called University of Farmington, to lure international students who wanted to circumvent the F-1 student visa rules. Although the fake university had a physical address, it did not have a actual classes or educators. Instead, it promised students that they could help them obtain work authorization through Curricular Practical Training program without the students having to attend classes or make academic progress.
The students were arrested and are now in removal proceedings. The full story is here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/us/farmington-university-arrests-ice.html
The moral of this story is that rules must be followed, and the law must be respected.
An F-1 student, if he/she is lucky to obtain an F-1 visa, must meet certain requirements and continue to maintain those requirements in order to keep the F-1 student status. Failure to meet those requirements or trying to circumvent the rules set up to help F-1 students further their education, such as the CPT program, may result in losing the F-1 status and possible removal.
Generally, in order to maintain F-1 status, a student will need to maintain full-time enrollment by keeping at least 12 credit hours each semester during the academic year for undergraduate programs. The F-1 student must also make sure to extend their I-20 30 days prior to the end of the granted time if they require more time to complete their studies. For some F-1 students, work authorization is available based on Curricular practical training and optional practical training programs. However, prior to beginning any work, the F-1 student must correctly seek permission from their school and the Department of Homeland Security and obtain the work authorization.
Since there are schools which take advantage of international students by promising them CPT work authorization without having to attend classes, an F-1 student should take care to research the school they wish to attend to make sure it is legitimate and operating in compliance with immigration laws.
If you need any advice regarding your F-1 status, please contact our office at (248) 557-3645.