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ICE Ran Fake University in Michigan to Nab Undocumented Immigrants

"We are all aware that international students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended international student visa program can also be exploited and abused," U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Mike Schneider said in a statement.

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The University of Farmington, through its well-curated social media accounts and website, lauded itself as "a nationally accredited business and STEM institution located in Metro Detroit."

However, the "university" was a phony cover ran by The Department of Homeland Security and the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an effort to target undocumented immigrants trying to remain in the United States by way of obtaining student visas.


In essence, the U.S. government duped honest hard-working people by promising them an easier track and — because they took the government-created fraudulent bait — they are being punished for it.

What's so disturbing about the sting is that it appears to entrap foreign students who made the appropriate effort to go about entering the country legally. The university "opened" in Farmington Hills, Mich., in 2015 and used education as tactic to identify student recruiters and others who were supposedly engaging in immigration fraud.

According to the grand jury indictment, ICE agents began posing as university officials in February 2017. The initiative was pushed by the Trump administration as an extreme attempt to crack down on illegal immigration.

The "university employees" essentially told people, who were a small group seeking visas, that they would be paid to recruit students. But not only that — they also offered them the opportunity to obtain student visas without having to take actual classes.

The promise of legal authorization to stay in this country to work as "recruiters" to help a school attract students who had intentions of obtaining degrees, sounds like a great job. Why would they think otherwise?

"Students from countries other than the United States are encouraged to apply to UF as first-time freshmen or transfer students," the website said.

The "university" went out of its way to make the case as to why foreign students should attend its school.

It offered perks like: "One hundred percent of students discuss classwork with a professor outside of class. No classes are taught by teaching assistants, and the university's president speaks four languages."

The "school's" social media sites were engaging as well. They even made up fake statuses via Twitter and Facebook in order to present UF as a viable, caring institution. So much effort was put into deceiving people who would have otherwise been doing the right thing.

Students enrolled at the school with the intent to obtain jobs under a student visa program called CPT (Curricular Practical Training) that would allow them to work in the U.S. while they studied. They were given the opportunity to do the two things that are requirements to become citizens in this country: be productive and go to school in order to contribute to society and not be a burden to the government.

Once these potential students took the bait, they were then informed that they wouldn't actually be taking classes.

According to the indictment, "… the university was being used by foreign citizens as a 'pay to stay' scheme which allowed these individuals to stay in the United States as a result of of foreign citizens falsely asserting that they were enrolled as full-time students in an approved educational program and that they were making normal progress toward completion of the course of study."

There were eight total arrests. The arrested parties helped at least 600 people to obtain visas under false pretenses.

Well-intentioned foreigners started the process correctly. An ICE official even corroborated that detail stating: "The students involved in this case had come to the U.S. legally to study at universities, but then transferred to the University of Farmington after they arrived in order to work."

All sites involving University of Farmington have been taken down or made inactive.

Middle School Student Arrested After Refusing to Recite Pledge of Allegiance

Ana Alvarez, a substitute teacher, asked the student why he continues to live in the U.S., "if it's so bad here."

An 11-year-old boy was arrested for not following orders and "causing a disruption" when he refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

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TV Station Reports on Michigan Governor's 'Curves' and Gets Slammed on Twitter

"I've got a message for all of the women and girls like mine who have to deal with garbage like this every day: I've got your back," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) gave her first annual address to the state on Tuesday focusing on infrastructure, education and bipartisanship to reach effective solutions. But a local TV station chose to focus more on Whitmer's curves in her dress. It's "a cheap, sexist and indefensible shot at a strong woman in leadership," said State Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes.

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U.S. Citizens Detained for Speaking Spanish Sue Border Patrol

"It's unconstitutional to detain people just because of their language, accent, or color of their skin," says the ACLU.

ACLU

Ana Suda and Martha Hernandez, American-born Latinas, are suing US Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officers for racial profiling.

They were detained at a gas station convenience store in Havre, Montana, last year, by an officer who asked the women where they were born after hearing them speak Spanish.

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Senate Backs Legislation to Make Lynching a Federal Hate Crime

"Lynching is a dark, despicable part of our nation's history and I'm hopeful this measure will swiftly pass the House," Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted.

It's 2019 and lynching still hasn't been properly outlawed. A bill, introduced by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was cleared on Thursday in the Senate to make lynching a federal crime. The measure will now go to the House. Harris, Booker and Scott are the only Black members of the Senate.

Harris tweeted on Thursday:

Congress has tried more than 200 times to pass an anti-lynching law, but has failed. The Senate passed a resolution in 2005, apologizing to lynching victims.

The bipartisan bill acknowledges the harms of lynching, which is a form of domestic terrorism, and the federal government's failure to stop it.

It defines the crime as "the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person."

In December, the Senate also passed the bill. But it was days before the 115th Congress went out of business, and the measure never reached the House floor.

"It's not the first time we've come down to this body to try to right the wrongs of history," Booker said on the Senate floor.

"For too long we have failed, failed to ensure justice for the victims of history and failed to make clear in the United States of America, in this great country, lynching is and always has been not only a federal crime but a moral failure."

According to the NAACP, "From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States."

"Of the total, 3,446 of the victims were Black, accounting for approximately 72.7 percent; and 1,297 were white, which is 27.3 percent."

"These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded," the organization stated.

Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Call Kaepernick 'Controversial' and Remove His Name From Black History Resolution

"Beyond outrageous that we, as the Legislative Black Caucus, had to get the permission of our white colleagues to pass our Black History Month resolution," tweeted Rep. Shelia Stubbs.

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is so "controversial" to GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin that they refused to include his name in a resolution to honor prominent Black Americans during February. But for members of the Legislature's Black caucus, Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin, is anything but controversial.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player in 2016 to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and baseball legend Reggie Jackson, are some of the more than two-dozen names suggested by the Black caucus to include in the resolution.

Republicans refused to support a resolution naming Kaepernick "for obvious reasons," Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna said during a news conference on Tuesday. He added, "Colin Kaepernick is obviously a controversial figure."

Steineke and others in the GOP are following the lead of the head of their party, who has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "sons of bi***es."

Kaepernick is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL. He claims that ever since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017, team owners and executives have colluded to keep him out of the league.

Wisconsin Republicans initially blocked the Black caucus' resolution. But then they amended it to delete Kaepernick's name on a 61-34 party-line vote. Democrats had to decide whether to go against their own resolution or accept it without Kaepernick. They wound up agreeing to remove his name, and the state Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday.

For the second year in a row, the Republicans, who are all white, in the Wisconsin Legislature objected to how Black lawmakers wanted to honor — Black History Month.

One of the Black lawmakers who authored the resolution, Democratic Rep. David Crowley of Milwaukee, called the incident "a textbook example of white privilege."

Wisconsin's population is 87.3 percent white, a much less diverse population than average.

Crowley also said that Kaepernick, who is a philanthropist, was included, in part, because he gave a $25,000 donation to a nonprofit for teens in Milwaukee called Urban Underground.

Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) tweeted on Tuesday:

State Sen. Lena Taylor said on Wednesday, that she would offer an amendment to include Kaepernick to the resolution.

AccuWeather to Pay $290K in Fines Over Sexual Harassment

Barry Myers, AccuWeather's former CEO, is Trump's nominee to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Barry Myers, former CEO of AccuWeather

Weather giant, AccuWeather, has agreed to pay $290,000 in fines after it was found that the company subjected female workers to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

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