International Students Must Beware of Visa Violations and Scams - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
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International Students Must Beware of Visa Violations and Scams

Posted on in Immigration
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Il immigration lawyerMedia coverage sometimes denigrates the enforcement actions taken by U.S. immigration authorities, calling them overly aggressive or harmful to families. Yet if agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not actively seek to capture and punish those who violate U.S. criminal laws and immigration laws, the U.S. could not maintain the public safety and homeland security that the citizens and lawful residents of the nation expect and deserve. Deportation and removal actions are an unpleasant but necessary reality.

That said, U.S. immigration law is complex and often intimidating. There are many unexpected ways that foreign citizens wishing to live in the U.S. can run afoul of the law.

Young people hoping to advance in life are particularly at risk of being taken lured into fraudulent immigration schemes. The skill of an experienced immigration attorney is often necessary to help holders of student visas to stay out of trouble with U.S. immigration officials.

Student Visa Scams, Violations, and Enforcement Actions

In 2018, over one million foreign students were legitimately enrolled in U.S. universities or remained in the U.S. to obtain post-graduation optional practical training. However, because the U.S. does not place a limit on the number of international student visas that can be issued each year, unscrupulous individuals will sometimes exploit the program for profit. Foreign nationals seeking entry to the U.S. should be wary of someone promising to obtain a student visa for them for a fee.

  • Student visa fraud scams: In January 2019, US federal prosecutors charged eight citizens of India with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit in a falsified student visa scheme. The conspirators recruited Indian citizens to “enroll” in a private U.S. university, then facilitated the creation of false student records to deceive immigration authorities, enabling an estimated 600 Indian nationals to illegally remain and work in the U.S. over a period of two years. The “students” did not actually attend classes nor had any intention to do so, and they knowingly participated in the fraud. These “students” will be subject to deportation and could face criminal charges in the U.S. as well.
  • Extortion scams threatening deportation: International students who are already enrolled in a legitimate U.S. university can also become the target of scam artists. U.S. law enforcement officials have reported several different scams in which con men essentially demand a ransom of thousands of dollars from a foreign student. The student is harassed, told they have violated some law, and threatened with deportation. In some cases, the scammers have claimed to be immigration agents.
  • F-1 visa violations: Foreign nationals studying at a U.S. university must also be careful to comply with all the terms of their F-1 visa. Violations such as overstaying your visa or working without authorization could impede your future ability to obtain a green card.

Firearms purchases can also be a trigger for trouble. Foreign students are often curious about guns which may be unavailable in their home country. In one recent case, a Chinese student tried to purchase a firearm at a retail store, and the store owner called the FBI. After interviewing the student, the FBI agent found that the student appeared to pose no safety threat. However, the student made the mistake of showing the agents his switchblade knife and was told it was illegal in the state. The FBI agents then took the student back to his university where the student was expelled on the spot because of the school’s “no weapons” policy. While no criminal charges were filed, ICE picked up the student because his expulsion rendered his visa invalid. The young man was put in ICE detention to await a deportation hearing.

Consult a Chicago Student Visa Lawyer

International students must not only beware of possible immigration scams but also be sure to comply with all U.S. laws. To ensure that you do not run afoul of the U.S. regulations governing international students, work with a reputable DuPage County immigration attorney. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 630-932-9100.




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