ICE arrests 11 Indian students for OPT fraud

Ongoing “Operation OPTical Illusion” targets nonimmigrant students fraudulently using OPT to stay in the US.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has arrested 15 foreign students, including 11 Indian nationals in an ongoing operation to check fraudulent use of Optional Practical Training (OPT) program to remain in the US.

One Bangladeshi, one Senegalese and two Libyan nationals were also among those arrested in “Operation OPTical Illusion” targeting nonimmigrant students who claimed to be employed by companies that don’t exist, the agency announced Wednesday.

RELATED: What is Optional Practical Training, or OPT?

The arrests took place in and around Boston, Massachusetts; Washington, DC area; Houston, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Newark, New Jersey; Nashville, Tennessee; Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

OPT enables nonimmigrant students to work in the US in positions related to their field of study for up to one year, with an additional 24 months if the student participates in STEM optional practical training.

READ: Reports of random ICE inspections trigger fear among Indian students on OPT (October 16, 2019)

“Today’s announcement is just another example of the Trump Administration not only putting America first but making sure the laws of our immigration system are enforced,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli in an ICE media release.

“Every instance of fraud is a job an American worker could have had, and with so many Americans looking for work this crime is even more unacceptable.”

“ICE has a system of checks in place to mitigate fraud and is committed to protecting national security by ensuring that students, visitors, and schools comply with US immigration laws,” said acting ICE Director Tony Pham.

“These latest arrests demonstrate that the agency is actively targeting individuals who try to exploit the student visa system.”

The agency will continue to vet students who gained new employment through OPT for compliance with their nonimmigrant status. Any identified leads will be reviewed for potential future enforcement, the agency said.


What are your options if H-1B visa is denied? (April 29, 2019)

New threat looms over OPT for F-1 visa students as lawsuit challenges extension of work permit (August 30, 2016)

Judge rules in favor of F-1 visa students on OPT, tosses out appeal by tech workers’ union (May 13, 2016)

Tech workers’ union argue in court to prevent F-1 visa holders to work on OPT (May 5, 2016)

From May 10, 2016, STEM F-1 visa students can work for 3 years under OPT (March 10, 2016)

Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions plan to end OPT for F-1 visa students, restrict H-1B visa (March 1, 2016)

F-1 visa STEM students will be given OPT for 3 years (February 9, 2016)

Chuck Grassley opposes DHS move to extend OPT to 6 years for students on F1 visas (June 9, 2015)

The fading charm of the F-1 student visa in Trump era (August 26, 2019)

Judge allows additional arguments on why the OPT program is lawful (July 3, 2019)

Dolica Gopisetty: From aging out of H4 visa to AWS Summit panel, Dolica Gopisetty’s extraordinary journey (June 24, 2019)


  1. deport all europeans from usa. They are the original illegals in usa

  2. Vince Civiletto

    Great job ICE!! Lock these A holes up forever. Better yet, DEPORT their sorry behinds to the S hole countries they came from, don’t want any more of that garbage than what we already have. Europe has buckled under all the refugee and asylum filth it allowed in over the last 10 years, shame on them. America must be rid of this CANCER that is the immigration system.

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