Protesters fear for safety of teens who may be deported
Posted January 30, 2016
Durham, N.C. — Family and friends of teenagers detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement met in Durham for a candlelight vigil Saturday night to protest ICE raids.
Earlier in the week, three North Carolina teenagers were picked up and detained by officials. One of them was 19-year-old David Guillen Acosta, who was heading to school Thursday when he found ICE agents waiting outside his home.
His mother said her son came from Honduras in 2014 to escape gang violence and said she’s fearful of what will happen if he goes back.
She said that she wants ICE agents to set her son free because he has no family in Honduras if he is sent back. She believes that, if he returns, his life may be in danger.
Ellen Holmes, who taught Guillen Acosta at Riverside High School, voiced similar fears.
"A lot of students are so scared they are not even coming to school. I think it's horrible to rip families apart," she said. "I mean, we're sending children back to countries that aren't safe, where they have no future and where they can face possible death."
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 recently changed its enforcement priorities with a new push to round up women and children who crossed the border illegally after May 2014.
Those who gathered at Saturday’s vigil, which is similar to another held in Raleigh earlier in the week, plan to continue their efforts to free Guillen Acosta and the other teens. They also plan to continue protesting the recent ICE raids targeting women and children.