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Hundreds rally for Nigerian students holed up in Regina church to avoid deportation

Hundreds of people came out Monday to support two Nigerian students who have taken sanctuary in a Regina church to avoid deportation.

Victoria Ordu and Ihouma Amadi, who have completed three years of study at the University of Regina, were found to be working illegally for two weeks at Walmart.

Both women thought they were allowed to work because they had social insurance numbers.

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Rather than being given a warning and a fine, both were told in June 2012 they had to leave Canada.

Regina Liberal MP Ralph Goodale believes new federal Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has been brought up to speed on the file and will do the right thing.

The girls, who are in their 20s, also have the support of many other groups, including both the provincial government and the NDP.

Organizers and supporters are hopeful that a resolution is imminent because options are quickly running out for the girls.

"I hope that (Alexander) will be prepared to work with all the other people who are concerned about this file to find a practical solution that doesn't set a bad precedent in terms of immigration rules, but at the same time produces a practical result that would allow these two students to finish their education," said Goodale.

NDP MLA Warren McCaul also said he was upbeat that having a new immigration minister would result in change.

"I'm going to air on the side of hope, and I'm hopeful that the new minister, Chris Alexander, will bring some common sense and compassion to bear that has not been there to date."

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There also was a rally held on the weekend.

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