Two federal cabinet ministers have thrown cold water on efforts to stop two University of Regina students from being deported.
Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi are from Nigeria, and have taken sanctuary in a Regina church for several months because they're afraid they'll be deported.
They have student visas which allow them to work, but only on campus.
They claim they did not know of the restriction and worked for a short time at a Wal-Mart store, but stopped as soon as they learned of the rules.
However, they were ordered to leave the country. Since then there have been protests, petitions and various media reports about their situation.
Last week, Saskatchewan Economy Minister Bill Boyd wrote to federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency, expressing concern and asking for an update.
'Student' status questioned
However, on Wednesday, Toews told CBC News there will be no exceptions made for Ordu and Amadi. He went further, saying the two aren't even students.
"I'm advised that the two individuals are not students in accordance with the plan that they've submitted here and have no basis for remaining in Canada," he said.
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenny made similar statements in the House of Commons on Wednesday in response to a question from Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale.
"Both the University of Regina and the Government of Saskatchewan oppose deportation of these two young women for a small honest mistake. Will the minister agree?" Goodale asked.
Kenney replied the two women received a fair hearing.
"First of all, one of the students told the CBSA that she had not been enrolled in classes and had been academically disqualified, and she had documents confirming that," Kenney said.
"Both of these individuals had hearings before the immigration division before receiving exclusion orders. Both of their social insurance numbers indicated that they did not have permission to work in Canada."
However, a consultant working on the women's cases says that's not true.
He says they were both enrolled at the U of R and while they broke the rules, in this case the punishment does not fit the crime.