Couple Emerges From Church Basement Sanctuary After Hiding Out There For 843 Days

Most of us have experienced our fair share of feeling stuck at home in 2020. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses temporarily closed or switched to curbside pick-up or take-out service while those of us who weren’t “essential” workers spent most of our life at home.

We work from home. Our kids learn from home. We even socialize from home via Zoom.

While we can complain about feeling trapped at times, we really have no reason to complain. Just imagine being stuck inside in one building for over 2 years.

Oneita and Clive Thompson moved to the United States 15 years ago. They were fleeing gang violence in Jamaica, and they made the United States their home. The couple has a total of 7 children, and 3 of them are United States citizens.

The couple, along with their 2 youngest children, have been living in a church basement, and after 843 days, they have finally walked outside the church doors into the sunlight.

They were surprised when they found out they were going to be deported, which would have separated them from their children, so they decided to hide at the Tabernacle United Church in West Philadelphia.

The couple finally felt safe to leave the church after receiving a letter letting them know that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would support their case to remain in the United States with their children.

Clive Thompson said, “When we got the letter from ICE, I was just looking at it in shock.  It’s a big breakthrough – after working so long, this is a miracle. I feel like all the stress is drifting away, and everything is lighting up with joy.”

For more about this story, watch the video below.

What would you do if you had to stay in a church basement for 843 days? How would you pass the time? Does it surprise you how this couple avoided deportation?