After Donald Trump took office in 2017 and ordered ICE to start cracking down on illegal aliens residing in our country, an old phenomenon began to grow in popularity. Many illegals approached churches, asking for sanctuary and the ability to live there because customs enforcement traditionally will not enter a house of worship to detain anyone. One example of that was seen in Philadelphia. Oneita and Clive Thompson are illegal aliens from Jamaica, as are four of their seven children. They entered the United States illegally in 2005 but were discovered by ICE in 2018 and scheduled for deportation. For the past two and a half years they have been hiding out in Tabernacle United Church in West Philadelphia.
But this week they emerged from sanctuary and back into the public eye. The problem with this idea, at least at first glance, is that Joe Biden isn’t the president yet, so his promised freeze on all deportations hasn’t taken effect. So shouldn’t ICE be packing the Thompsons up for a flight to Jamaica? I would have thought so, but it’s not the case. ICE sent them a letter saying they would support their efforts to remain in the country. (CBS Philadelphia)
A couple has emerged from a West Philadelphia church after hiding out in the basement for 843 days. Oneita and Clive Thompson recently received written confirmation that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will support their case to stay in the United States.
The couple says they came to the U.S. from Jamaica about 15 years ago fleeing gang violence.
“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,” Clive Thompson said in a statement.
Unless that letter was a ruse to get the Thompsons to come out of hiding (and that would be a pretty slippery trick if so), it seems that they are going to be let off the hook.
Barring some significant development in their case that’s going unreported, this seems like precisely the wrong message for ICE to be sending. The Thompsons knowingly broke the law by coming here. Jamaica probably isn’t the safest spot on the planet, but it’s not one of the terrorist hell-holes where people can flee to America and be granted almost immediate relief, either. They were given the opportunity to make their case for asylum, but the request was denied. They should have been deported. But now, after hiding behind the charity of the church for two and a half years they are instead being rewarded.
This is likely just a preview of what’s to come over the next four years at a minimum. Joe Biden has made it clear that he will do his level best to reverse all of the progress that’s been made in border control under Donald Trump’s administration. He plans on freezing all deportations for at least 100 days as soon as he takes office and then severely restrict which illegal aliens can be deported. On the day he is sworn in, I would wager that we’ll be seeing illegals like the Thompsons emerging from the basements of churches all over the country to celebrate their new opportunity to evade detention and deportation.
And this sort of policy change is one that Biden and Harris can enact without having to work through Congress to get any laws passed. Just as Donald Trump toughened up border security with nothing but some new policy guidance for ICE and the Border Patrol, Biden can put his own people in charge and give them the opposite marching orders in terms of their priorities for prosecution.
So what else can we expect from Status Quo Joe in this regard? I find myself wondering if he might begin appropriating money from the military budget and order the Army to start tearing down all the new sections of the border wall that have been built over the past four years. You may think that’s just a bad joke, but I honestly wouldn’t put it past him. And if the GOP doesn’t manage to hold on to the majority in the Senate next month, you might see some sort of blanket amnesty plan being pushed too. That’s just a brief reminder for any of you immigration hawks out there who just couldn’t bring yourselves to vote for Trump last month.