A local court in Michigan, United States, has permitted 19 Indian students to leave the country days after they were detained for enrolling at a fake institution that had been created by federal agents to expose an immigration-fraud racket, the Hindustan Times reported on Thursday. Undercover agents working for the Department of Homeland Security had set up the University of Farmington to expose a “pay-to-stay” scam.

As many as 129 Indian students were arrested earlier this month. According to US authorities, foreign nationals purportedly enroll in fake institutions to falsely maintain their student visa status. This allows them to continue to stay in the country. The accused were placed in “removal proceedings” and marked for deportation after their arrest.

In all, 20 students – including 19 Indians and a Palestinian – have been released. Three of them – two Indians and the Palestinian – were allowed to return to their home country last week, The Times of India reported. The other 17 Indians, all Telugus, were granted permission to leave on Tuesday. They have to leave the United States by February 26.

However, 100 more Telugu students are still being held at detention centres. “Some have come out of the detention centres on bail bond and others are in the process of getting the same,” Andhra Pradesh Non-Resident Telugus Society Coordinator Sagar Doddapaneni told the Hindustan Times.

He added that the students who been permitted to leave the country have to do so through routes identified by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Though the students were given time till February 26, they are getting ready to return to India as early as possible,” Doddapaneni added. “If they complete the paper work fast, the first batch of students might leave the US by this weekend.”