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The Saskatchewan government says two Nigerian students facing deportation appear to have made an honest mistake and shouldn't be kicked out of the country.

University of Regina students Ihouma Amadi and Victoria Ordu were found to be working illegally for two weeks at a Wal-Mart.

Economy Minister Bill Boyd has written a letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews asking for a review.

Mr. Boyd says the province is hoping for what he calls a positive resolution to the situation, although the letter does not specifically call for amnesty.

The cabinet minister sent the letter about 10 days ago, but has not yet received a response.

The women, who have completed three years of study, said they thought they were allowed to work because they had social insurance numbers.

Rather than being given a warning and a fine, both went through hearings at Canada Border Services over the winter and were told in June they had to leave Canada. They have since sought sanctuary in a church.

The University of Regina administration has been in contact with the federal government asking for an exception.

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, who represents a Regina riding, said in the House of Commons that Ottawa's reaction to the deportation "seems unnecessarily rigid."

"The government clearly has no complaint against these two students, other than their working for two weeks at Wal-Mart. Surely deportation and the termination of their education is out of all proportion to the offence committed, especially when others in identical circumstances have been given fines and allowed to continue," said Mr. Goodale.