Local News

Durham teen says Honduran gangs will kill him if he's deported

Posted February 8, 2016

— A Durham teen who was taken into custody by immigration agents two weeks ago said Monday that he fears he will be killed if he is deported.

David Guillen Acosta, 19, was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while on his way to Riverside High School on Jan. 28. He has since moved through detention centers in Raleigh and South Carolina and is now being held in southern Georgia.

A native of Honduras, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in 2014 to escape gang violence. He appeared before an immigration judge in Charlotte when he arrived in the U.S. two years ago, but he never returned to immigration court for fear of deportation. That decision, ironically, prompted a deportation notice to be issued for him last March.

"My whole family is living here in the United States," Guillen Acosta told WRAL News in a phone interview, adding that gangs have killed many of his relatives in Honduras.

When asked what will happen if he is deported, he says simply, "They kill me."

Now, he is asking authorities to give him the permission he needs to stay and asking God for the strength he needs to get through his detention. He said he has an irregular heart beat and has passed out.

At least six young people from North Carolina are in the same situation, having been picked up by ICE agents in an enforcement effort targeting the thousands of unaccompanied minors and mothers with small children who illegally entered the U.S. since 2014. Guillen Acosta said a teen from Raleigh also is being held in the Georgia jail.

The Durham Human Relations Commission last week adopted a resolution calling for the "suspension of ICE raids in our local community" and the "favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion" to grant the youths' release from custody.

The Durham City Council is backing the resolution, and Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price and his staff have asked for more information from ICE about Guillen Acosta's case to ensure he is treated fairly.

"The Congressman is concerned by the circumstances under which Mr. Guillen Acosta was apprehended, which serve as a stark reminder of the need to address the shortcomings of our broken immigration system," Price spokesman Lawrence Kluttz said in an email to WRAL News. "Congressman Price will continue to advocate for comprehensive congressional reform that prioritizes the removal of dangerous criminals and protects those members of our communities who are pursuing the American dream."


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  • Victoria Clark Mar 18, 2016
    user avatar

    It's so dangerous yet his parents left in behind to live? No his father came 1st, then eased his wife and not trying to bring rest of the family.

  • Kioko Fulgarion Feb 11, 2016
    user avatar

    Sorry kid, you blew your chance to stay here legally, we're not hateful people against illegal aliens, but we don't like freeloaders who ignore the requirements to become legal which are pretty simple if you ask me.

    Gangs? If you're so worried about gangs, what did you or your family do to get them to want to kill you? Most gangs down there don't generally target random people unless someone in your family crossed them.

  • Janet Ghumri Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Is the threat of gang violence targeted at him? Or is it more general?
    If it's specific to him, was he involved in a gang? If so, they could come after him here, and attract that level of violence to our communities.
    If it's general gang violence, why did the family move away and leave him there? He would have been quite young, considering how long the family has been here.
    It does sound like he's been coached.

  • Jon Gregory Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Not our problem son. You already thumbed your nose by not appearing at your hearing. Bye bye.

  • Steve Allen Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Too bad so sad. Deport him.

  • Curtis Denton Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Don't these people understand english...especially a senator or whatever David price is the word "ILLEGAL" he's already been given a chance he shouldn't have gotten to go by the law and he didn't. .just like the illegals who come over spit out a baby and it's considered legal...how do ya be illegal and make a legal....that is so ignorant. ..

  • Jim Hinnant Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    Sorry. He isn't a "Durham teen." He's a "Honduran teen."

  • Sean Creasy Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    I have to question what him or his family did to the "gangs" to make them ant to kill him so badly? Furthermore if Congressman Price Wants reform so badly maybe he should start putting support behind the upholding the laws currently in place and quit trying
    classifying illegal aliens as immigrants....

  • Steve Clark Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    And I agree Jeffrey, clearly he's been coached by his lawyer.

  • Steve Clark Feb 9, 2016
    user avatar

    We HAVE a way for him to legally stay. He chose not to use it. If Everyone says "I'm a refugee and they'll kill me if I go back" then our system collapses under the strain. This seems simple to me - deport those who came her illegally.