Mother of teen arrested by ICE agents pleads for son's release
Posted February 2
Updated February 3
Durham, N.C. — 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.