Judge denies hold on deportation of Durham teen
Posted March 18
Durham County, N.C. — Protestors gathered on the steps outside the office of Congressman G.K. Butterfield Friday afternoon in an effort to keep Wildin “David” Guillen Acosta from being deported to Honduras on Sunday.
Acosta was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while on his way to Riverside High School on Jan. 28 as part of an effort to target teenagers who recently crossed into the United States from Mexico.
According to Acosta’s attorney, Evelyn Smallwood, a judge issued at denial at 5:30 p.m., an hour after the board of immigration appeals closed.
Smallwood said Acosta has no stay and can't appeal until Monday at 8:30 a.m. ICE will now have the final say in a decision to deport Acosta this weekend.
A native of Honduras, Guillen Acosta said 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.
The 19-year-old’s family said they fear Acosta could be harmed or killed by gangs if he returns to his home country.
“After learning of Mr. Acosta’s detainment in mid-February, my senior staff in Washington have been working to stop deportation proceedings until all his pending motions are heard and he has every opportunity to present his case,” Butterfield said Friday in a statement. “Wildin Acosta and other young people like him fled extreme violence and mayhem in Central America in search of refuge and a better life in the United States.
“I believe that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s limited resources would be better utilized focusing on dangerous criminals who pose a threat to our communities rather than high school students and teenagers trying to make better lives for themselves.”
Butterfield said he requested that a decision be made in Acosta’s case by Friday.
“Over the past few days, I have spoken with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, ICE Director Sarah Saldaña and officials at the highest levels of the White House to express my displeasure with the continued detention of Wildin Acosta and the other North Carolina teenagers currently in ICE detention,” said Butterfield. “During my conversations, I insisted that Mr. Acosta not be deported this Sunday and requested his release so he can have a fair shot at presenting his case for asylum. I have been given assurances by ICE Director Sarah Saldaña that a decision will be made regarding Mr. Acosta’s case by the end of today.”
At least six young people from North Carolina have been picked up by ICE agents who illegally entered the U.S. since 2014.