Christmas Comes Early For A Caribbean Couple Who Had Been Forced To Live In A Church Sanctuary


Caribbean News, Latin America News:

By News Americas Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Dec. 17, 2020:  Christmas has come early for a Caribbean couple who had been forced to live in a church sanctuary in Philadelphia for two years.

Jamaican Clive and Oneita Thompson say the federal government is dropping its deportation case against them, and they’ll soon return to their South Jersey home and the lives they abandoned in August 2018.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting the termination of their removal order allows the undocumented Jamaican couple to seek permanent residency in the United States, a process now underway.

The couple had been living at the Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia but have been living in the US for more than a decade and a half. They had been ordered by immigration officials to return to Jamaica because they overstayed their visas.

“It’s a little bit like a Christmas miracle,” the Rev. Katie Aikins, Tabernacle’s pastor, told the paper.

“My whole heart is ready to go,” Oneita, 48, said in an interview from inside Tabernacle United Church in University City.

“I’m joyful, a joyful moment, with tears,” Clive, 61, told the paper. “Here we are, walking out of the church. We’re going to go back and live the American dream.”

Clive Thompson came to the US on a visa from Jamaica in 2004 after a gang member murdered her brother and threatened their lives. Their request for asylum was denied.

With deportation proceedings ended, the Thompsons are eligible to legally live and work in this country through the connection to their daughter Angel, who became an American citizen in May. She filed a “Petition for an Alien Relative,” sponsorship for her parents, which allows them to adjust their status.

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