Local News

Mother of teen arrested by ICE agents pleads for son's release

Posted February 2, 2016
Updated February 3, 2016

— A mother’s push to keep her son in the United States took center stage Tuesday night before the Durham Human Relations Commission.

Delsia Acosta reached her son, Wildin David Guillen Acosta, by phone. He filled her in on how he’s holding up, and she filled him in on what happened in Durham Tuesday night.

Acosta and several others came before the Durham Human Relations Commission, asking for a letter of support for her son’s release.

Guillen Acosta, 19, was picked up by immigration officials while on his way to school Thursday morning. He is currently detained in South Carolina, but loved ones fear he won’t be able to stay in the country much longer.

"He said, 'Please find me an attorney because I can’t go back to Honduras. If I go, they're going to kill me,'" Acosta said through a translator.

While the commissioners said their hearts go out to the family, they weren’t quite ready to pen a letter of support for Guillen Acosta’s release. Commissioners, who are appointed by the Durham City Council, wondered if writing the letter would be outside the scope of their authority.

"We need to figure out where our boundaries are," said Commissioner Phil Seib. "To make sure that what we have to say, we’re not wasting the City Council’s time with resolutions that are just empty promises or hollow appeals."

Just before 11 p.m. Tuesday, the commission did approve a resolution in support of Guillen Acosta that they will take to the City Council.

"These young people are low priority for deportation, and for that reason, we would urge that they be granted favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion," the resolution reads. "Please don't separate these immigrant youth from their families and the Durham community. We, the Durham Human Relations Commission, urge suspension of ICE raids in our local community and for the release of currently detained Durham youth."

Those in attendance Tuesday night brought light to Guillen Acosta’s case, arguing that something as simple as a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement could make a difference.

"These statements to make a difference. They do bring attention and make public these humanitarian crises that we’re taking on," said activist Viridiana Martinez. "The way I see it, a humanitarian crisis needs a humanitarian response."

An ICE spokesman said Guillen Acosta was taken into custody in compliance with an order by an immigration judge.

Guillen Acosta 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 prompted a deportation notice to be issued for him last March.


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  • Betsy Smith Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    "So, do we let them come pouring in at will or send them packing??"

    Neither. It's ineffective to deport with open borders. They have such a hard life, yet repeatedly manage to get thousands of dollars to be smuggled back in. Secure the borders and punish employers who hire illegals. Then the problem will resolve itself.

  • Betsy Smith Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    "You get enough people fighting for him, it then makes the news and starts to set a president?"

    Very possible. He might have been paid to come here strictly for this purpose. Since it's illegal to verify citizenship in many cases, ICE likely has a history of quickly deporting those known to be illegal while others fly under the radar for decades. Come here, declare you're illegal and wait to pull at the heart strings about "a better life" and "keep families together". With that logic, we should exonerate and release any non-violent Americans guilty of breaking the law for a better life.

  • Jon Gregory Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    19 and still in High School? Really?

    This is a very slippery slope Durham.

  • Cathy Blackman Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    So, everyone who fails to reappear will get a letter of recommendation....really? How does this make the system work? Every situation could possibly be a humanitarian issue. I believe isn't that we're being inhumane...I believe the issue is the law on the books and we encourage them to NOT follow the laws?

  • Lori Duke Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    I wonder how long they've lived here? She doesn't even speak English. Wow.

  • Milton Bailey Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    If things are as bad there as she wants us to believe; why did she leave him there when she left and where/with whom he living the past years since she left? Something smells rotten to me; deport both and dad also if he is here .

  • Lori De Stefano Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    He's 19, so he's legally an adult in this country, which he's in illegally. Not sure why the entire family, here illegally is not being deported. He's already shown by having had a few court appearances that he has no intentions of doing things here legally and becoming a citizen. Not sure why my race are being wasted time and time again on this sort of stuff. Get a bus, fill it up and drive it to the border and empty it out, gas is cheap now.

  • Kenneth Anderson Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    Is his mother a legal resident? Did her son come here legally? If she wants her son to live here, then the two of them should go through the proper legal channels to do so. Any discussion to the contrary is a blatant disregard for the law.

  • Sonja Yagel Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    You should be allowed to stay in our country only if you obey the laws as they are, not a dictator in the White House who puts you in a this situation. He should have gone to the hearings, he did not know how they would rule, but he broke the law and now he has a mark against his chance to stay in the this country. We must have law and order or we will have no country.

  • David Goetze Feb 3, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    This young man had already found himself before our Courts so it isn't a matter of going after others first. Do we let the shoplifter walk because there are still murderers and rapists on the loose? If Christianity teaches anything besides compassion and benevolence, it teaches respect for the rule of law which this young man flaunts. Does the man who robs a bank to feed his hungry family get a pass because he had "good reason" to do what he did? Such circumstances are always considered in mitigation of sentence but never in determining guilt or innocence. If you are guilty, you should pay a price for it. If your parents put you in that position, take it up with them.