Local News

ICE agents arrest Riverside High student for possible deportation

Posted January 29, 2016

— Riverside High School senior David Guillen Acosta headed out the door Thursday morning for school but wound up in the Wake County jail and could soon be on his way back to his native Honduras.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were waiting outside Guillen Acosta's Durham home and took him into custody. The 19-year-old was among the thousands of children and teens who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally during the summer of 2014.

Guillen Acosta appeared before an immigration judge in Charlotte when he arrived, but he never returned to immigration court for fear of deportation. That prompted a deportation notice to be issued for him last March.

ICE has since changed its enforcement priorities, making Guillen Acosta a target of the new push to round up women and children who crossed the border illegally after May 2014. Raids in recent weeks have rounded up scores of people in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina.

Nearly half of the 20,800 cases involving unaccompanied children that have gone through immigration courts since the summer of 2014 have resulted in removal orders, meaning almost 9,700 children and teens across the country are now being targeted by ICE.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said that Guillen Acosta was taken into custody pursuant to a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge. Cox said he could not discuss "future operations" in the case.

Guillen Acosta's attorney plans to reopen his immigration case, according to Que Pasa, a Spanish-language newspaper in Raleigh.

His parents, who have been in the U.S. for four years, said he came to North Carolina to escape deadly gang violence in Honduras, and they fear he will be killed if he is sent back. His mother, Dilsia Acosta, said he is a good person who goes to school during the day, works at a restaurant at night and has dreams of one day becoming an engineer.

Hector Guillen said he watched from inside his home as his son was arrested because he feared that his other children might be taken into custody as well if he went outside.

The family is now keeping the other children at home, and Durham Public Schools officials said they are aware of other concerned Latino families also not sending their children to class for fear they will be deported.

School district policy prohibits schools from asking students about their immigration status, which means they are not turning students over to ICE because they are not keeping track of who is in the country legally and who isn't.


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  • Craig Elliott Jan 30, 2016
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    With all due respect, why don't you emigrate to a nation in South America, or West Africa or South Asia? You don't, because you desire to provide your family with the benefits Americans have fought and died for, and you prefer to live in a nation of laws and the economic opportunities that it permits.

    I don't judge you for that, but you should understand that life in a nation without borders is as secure as life in a house without doors.

  • Scooter Barrette Jan 30, 2016
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    "You see, I deserve to feel protected and safe because I was born here. This boy, on the other hand, deserves to die because he chose to be born somewhere else. The law is infallible and I'm afraid of foreigners." -All previous posts

  • Jeffrey Derry Jan 30, 2016
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    We are a country of laws doesn't matter if he is a good boy wants to be an engineer...family spit in the face of legal system by failure to appear....judicial order of removal issued. BYE BYE go and fix ur country

  • Sonja Yagel Jan 30, 2016
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    I believe at Americans feel for people who are being threatened in other countries, but we have been taken advantage of so much by Obama's open border stance, we are tired of being the ones who are keeping up the whole world. They need to come in legally.

  • Ron Coleman Jan 30, 2016
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    Awful? Do you like criminals or do you want criminals walking the streets at their leisure sure sounds it to me because that is what they are. They came here without permission and that is illegal. There is one thing bad in this article and that is it should be 12 million rounded up not just a few thousand. Go home and come back the correct way.

  • Robert J. Howarth Sr Jan 30, 2016
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    Crossed border illegally. against the law. Failure to appear ,warrent issued. Maybe if he would have just followed the laws, he would still be here. Many do it legally. Go home, learn from this, and try again the right way. Good bye.

  • Steve Clark Jan 30, 2016
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    This SURE sounds like 'half a story' to me. How exactly are his parents here for 4 yrs (I assume legally, otherwise, why wouldn't they be getting deported too) and he didn't come over with them four years ago? And... since when is a 19 yr old healthy male 'an unaccompanied child'? And WRAL - I acknowledge that you went and found a 'poster-boy' for "heartless deportation", but I am curious about the number of those 20,000 'children' have criminal records, either from their own country.. or now ours. Keep in mind... it's a CRIME, to cross our border illegally.

  • Jeff Given Jan 30, 2016
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    Sure, he's probably a human, and he's probably going to be murdered when he gets back to his home country. But there's one thing I know, that Statue of Liberty says "give me your tired, your willing to jump through hoops, your white masses, yearning to be free."
    This was a kid who yearned to be free, who came to America the hardest way possible, probably a mix of on foot, on top of a rail car and through the desert. Then he works a job, where he gets a check with taxes taken out, and he goes to high school, wants to become an engineer.
    You know y'all are awful, right?

  • Lamario Kelly Jan 30, 2016
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    You can talk till your blue in the mouth...ppl don't realize most immigrants are the ones who work these hard labor jobs that lazy Americans don't. We are a hate filled country and its sad to see.

  • Lamario Kelly Jan 30, 2016
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    Now that was just a prejudice, ignorant comment.