Report: Illegal Immigrant Couple Exits Church After 843 Straight Days Of Hiding From ICE

PHILLIP NIETO December 21, 2020 6:19 PM ET

A couple who illegally immigrated to the United States has finally emerged from a West Philadelphia church basement after hiding from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for 843 days.

15 years ago, Oneita and Clive Thompson came to America without proper documentation after fleeing from gang violence in Jamaica. The couple has seven children, only three of which are legal citizens, according to CBS Philly.

After they lost their asylum case, ICE ordered them to be deported, which would have separated them from their children, CBS Philly reports. the parents then decided to hide with their two youngest children in the basement of the Tabernacle United Church.

The family finally emerged after receiving written confirmation from ICE that the agency will support their case to have them stay in the U.S.

“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,” Clive Thompson told the local outlet in a statement. “I feel like all the stress is drifting away, and everything is lighting up with joy.”