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ASA College Agrees to Pay Six-Figure Fine for Preying on Immigrant Students

Documented

Oct 06, 2022

ASA College, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn, New York City. Photo: Ajay Suresh/Flickr

This summary about how ASA College targeted immigrant students was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Farouk Armand, a Burkinabe immigrant, was 18 years old in 2016 when he applied to ASA College in Brooklyn. He got in. Now, he feels like the college cheated him of $15,000 and wasted two years of his life. 

“They weren’t treating me as a human but as a wallet,” Armand told Amir Khafagy, Documented’s labor reporter via Report for America. 

DCWP said ASA violated the Consumer Protection Law: ASA’s ads on subways and in buses had targeted immigrants and illegally preyed on them, said New York City Council Member Shahana Hanif, who is the Immigration Committee chair. On Monday, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection found that the college’s advertisements were indeed deceptive and violated the City’s consumer protection law. 

ASA has agreed to pay $112,500 in civil penalties and promised to follow the law it violated. Still, the school’s attorney, Steve Johnson, denies any wrongdoing. “It was a business deal at the end of the day,” Johnson said, “we didn’t believe the ads were deceitful in any way. We weren’t targeting anyone.”

The ads stated that college students could “Stay legally in America” and suggested that ASA could provide low-income immigrant students with $4,000-$8,000 “gifts” upon graduation. 

Students’ experience in the school is questionable: After a year in ASA, Armand was deeply disappointed by the quality of the education; instructors were barely qualified to teach, he said, and student resources were sparse. But the college pressured him to continue. Armand felt stuck. 

Going back to Burkina Faso — which has experienced several terrorist attacks in the past years, and a coup just a few days ago — was not an option. 

When he did try to transfer schools, his credits from ASA weren’t accepted, he said. He was forced to start his education from scratch at another college. 

Monday’s announcement from the DCWP is only the latest in several lawsuits and complaints that have plagued ASA college for years. Dive into the full report on Documented.

STORIES WE ARE FOLLOWING 

New York

Judge: Anna Sorokin can be released to home confinement as she fights deportation: Sorokin, who posed as an German heiress, must first meet certain conditions — post a $10k bond, provide an address where she’ll stay for the duration of her case and refrain from social media posting. — AP News

Around the U.S. 

Court declares DACA illegal, temporarily leaves it intact for nearly 600,000 Dreamers: The 5th Circuit Court said former President Obama did not have the legal authority to create the deportation protections in 2012, affirming a 2021 ruling from a Texas judge. — CBS News

  • Read a thread from civil rights litigator Karen Tumlin about the court ruling.

Family of Mexican migrant shot to death in West Texas seeks more information: Family members identified the 22-year-old man as Jesús Iván Sepúlveda of Durango, Mexico. The second person shot was injured and she remains hospitalized. — AP News 

Arizona voters to decide if immigrant students can pay in-state tuition: Voters will decide this November whether to allow students, regardless of their immigration status, to obtain financial aid and a cheaper in-state tuition rate.  — AP News

Washington D.C.

Analysis — Biden admin. sets high refugee cap for 2023 after failing to come close this year: The total number of unused refugee spots at the end of this year are nearly twice what it has been in recent years. — Austin Kocher on Substack

Labor Department adopts final rule to improve farmworker living conditions: The rule says housing for H-2A visa farm workers must meet federal standards and employers must provide workers with sanitary and timely meals. — Reuters 

More migrants arrive at V.P. Kamala Harris’ house: Texas’ governor sent 46 migrants on a bus on Monday to Harris’ residence. They were moved to a nearby church for assistance. — CNN

GEO Group says minimum wage doesn’t apply to detainees paid $1 a day: GEO said last week’s ruling made clear that states cannot interfere with federally-operated immigrant detention centers, even though a work program at a facility in Tacoma was shut down. — Reuters

SEE MORE STORIES

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