“When President Donald Trump took workplace in 2017 and commenced his anti-immigrant crackdown, ICE instantly focused low-hanging fruit: undocumented immigrants who had deep roots within the U.S. and had been checking in with immigration officers for years,” Prism’s Tina Vasquez wrote earlier this 12 months. That included the Thompsons, who’ve been allowed to remain within the U.S. and preserve working following the denial of their asylum claims. That every one modified in August 2018, and together with their two youngest youngsters—each U.S. residents—they went into sanctuary with the assistance of the New Sanctuary Motion.
Whereas Oneita did precisely what was requested of her by checking in often with ICE, she instructed Vasquez that she was racked with guilt in regards to the household being compelled to enter sanctuary. “Generally I believe: The place did I am going flawed?” she told Prism earlier this 12 months. “Might I’ve executed one thing totally different to remain on this nation, to verify my children didn’t should endure these challenges? What else may I’ve executed? I attempted to do all the pieces proper. I labored exhausting and paid my taxes. It retains me up at evening to surprise if I did one thing flawed. It feels so horrible to be ready the place you’ll be able to’t assist your loved ones the way in which that you just need to.”
The Thompsons haven’t been alone on this anguish. Vasquez said final 12 months that dozens of immigrants are in sanctuary after receiving last deportation orders. Whereas ICE considers homes of worship “delicate places” which can be usually off-limits to most enforcement motion, the out-of-control company has used different avenues to intimidate immigrants in sanctuary, including trying to fine them astronomical amounts of money they’ll by no means be capable of pay. Edith Espinal-Moreno, an Ohio mother of two U.S. residents who has been in sanctuary since 2017, was instructed by the federal authorities to pay practically $500,000 in fines.
The highway to the Thompsons’ victory started when the household filed a movement to reopen their case after a daughter not in sanctuary with them gained U.S. citizenship. “After the Thompsons’ two affidavits, earlier letters from Democratic Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pennsylvania), and roughly 200 letters from church and neighborhood members, ICE determined to hitch the Thompsons’ movement to reopen their asylum case,” CNN reported.
4 days earlier than Christmas, they have been lastly in a position to return residence to New Jersey. Nonetheless, they’ll by no means be capable of regain the greater than two years they misplaced for no motive apart from they have been simple targets for the federal authorities. Nor can Oneita simply come again from the anguish she was put by for simply making an attempt to maintain her household secure. Others nonetheless in sanctuary are hopefully ready for his or her day to return quickly too.