Local News

Judge denies hold on deportation of Durham teen

Posted March 18, 2016

— 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.


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  • Janet Ghumri Mar 20, 2016
    user avatar

    What always amazes me is that the family is using the laws of the US to pull every string and any loophole. He's not a citizen, resident or even a tourist. Just because his feet are on US soil, he has a multitude of ways to argue his right to remain.
    If he had to fly into the US, he would never be boarded on a flight, because he had no authorization to enter. He knowingly circumvented the process that millions utilize to enter the country.
    Even then, when he arrived, he was given the chance to appear and plead his case. If what he says is true about the gangs and violence awaiting him in Honduras, it seems like he would have been more than willing to appear and complete the process.
    Our laws apply to all of us, but should any and every person who manages to enter the country have the right to use them? This man unfortunately he hasn't shown that he is willing to follow our laws, but he is willing to use the ones that allow for defense of his actions.

  • Jacob Smith Mar 19, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Give me a break!

    I have served in the military as well and KNOW that conditions nearly EVERYWHERE except Europe and north America are horrendous. That does not mean these people get refugee status.

    If you want them here - then SAVE THEM YOURSELF with YOUR OWN MONEY by personal sponsorship of their entry by signing an affidavit of support for them, like anyone else must do when bringing in someone from outside the USA.

    This "revision" of the definition of refugee status is just all about lib dems getting a new sub-culture that will vote for them.

  • Katie Miller Mar 19, 2016
    user avatar

    To everyone who is posting negatively.. I had the honor to serve my country in the military and spent time in Honduras. Some of the conditions are completely unimaginable! I know each of you have lived perfect lives and have never dealt with adversity, or you will be able to tell a story about living without cable for a day, or when the power was out due to a storm.

    I ask you this... if your child was in a life/death situation (that was out of their control), would you do anything to help them? Even if it meant breaking a law? There becomes a point that parents (in the horrible situations) must make a decision to send their child elsewhere to try and provide them a better life. It is sad that we are more worried about a high school students citizenship status than the drugs, murder, and other crime in the area. It is all a political ploy and people fall right into the media's trap. most of us were immigrants... be careful throwing stones when your own house is made of glass.

  • Kim Plucker Mar 19, 2016
    user avatar

    You can have sympathy and still uphold the law. Don't like the law? Change it but not at everyone else's expense.

  • Dean Morron Mar 19, 2016
    user avatar

    This is what you have to go through to enter Honduras legally : http://honduras.usembassy.gov/iv_formsfees.html

    my biggest question is WHY Riverside High and the Durham County School Administration ever let this illegal enter the school system ? What about health issues, shot records, etc. ?
    Mr. Acosta, have a nice flight back to Honduras, get your act together and re-enter this country legally the next time and you won't have these problems.

  • Robert Fotch Jr Mar 19, 2016
    user avatar

    Goodby Acosta. You do not have my sympathy. Get in line and follow our laws and come back the legal way then I may say welcome to America!

  • Shane Taylor Mar 19, 2016
    user avatar

    Get out....Try the legal route!!!!!

  • Jeffrey Derry Mar 18, 2016
    user avatar

    key sentence: but he never returned to immigration court for fear of deportation
    are we not a nation of laws...Congressman Butterfield be a man and tell them there is nothing you can do. goodbye Mr Acosta

  • Nathaniel Hopkins Mar 18, 2016
    user avatar

    i don't know what the big fuss is all about. All he has to do is cross the border again. He will be back in Riverside HS in a week.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Mar 18, 2016
    user avatar

    This adult had three opportunities to plea his case before a judge and refused. He is now facing the consequences of breaking the law by entering this country illegally, then ignoring the very court system that could have prevented his deportation. There are millions more just like him, breaking immigration laws then claiming the same sort of disparity.... at some point the justice system must take a stand. If not.... why have immigration laws at all?