Local News

Teachers send school work to Durham teen facing deportation

Posted February 19, 2016

— Riverside High School teachers on Friday mailed school work and letters of encouragement to a Durham student who is being detained in Georgia by immigration officials.

Wildin "David" Guillen Acosta, 19, was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while on his way to Riverside High on Jan. 28. He has since moved through detention centers in Raleigh and South Carolina and is now being held in southern Georgia.

A native of Honduras, Guillen Acosta 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. That decision, ironically, prompted a deportation notice to be issued for him last March.

Teachers, school board members and others, even complete strangers, gathered at a downtown plaza Friday to put together a package for Guillen Acosta, and some then walked to a nearby post office to mail it to him.

"He's one of my favorite kids," said math teacher Matt Miller, who wrote a letter to President Barack Obama advocating for the teen's release and another to his student.

"We're doing everything we can to get you out," Miller said, reading from the letter to Guillen Acosta.

"He's a person. We're people. We should care about each other," Alesia Ashby said when asked why she was supporting Guillen Acosta.

His teachers say their classrooms haven't been the same since he left. For one thing, other students are now staying home for fear they could also be taken into custody.

"I was missing missing eight out of 23 students, which is a very large number," said Ellen Holmes, a foreign language teacher who advises a club to which Guillen Acosta belongs.

At least six young people from North Carolina have been picked up by ICE agents in an enforcement effort targeting the thousands of unaccompanied minors and mothers with small children who illegally entered the U.S. since 2014.

The Durham Human Relations Commission, the Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of Education have all backed resolutions calling for ICE to release the area teens to to halt the raids used to pick them up.

Immigration officials said they are simply following court orders and the priorities established in November by the Obama administration.

There was no word on when Guillen Acosta will be deported, but officials said he would have access to the teachers' package.


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  • Kioko Fulgarion Feb 20, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Hiya Tumblr.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Feb 20, 2016
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    Well this 19 year old adult refused to attend 3 immigration hearings. Those were his legal opportunities to present his situation before a court of law. We are a nation of laws. It is what separates us from the lawless third world nations people like him flee from. And our laws establish a process to protect everyone involved. He not only broke the laws we uphold to enter this country, but also rejected the laws governing our system that may have allowed him to stay. He has only himself to blame. It may be compassionate for teachers and others to support this man... but since these same folks could never step forth with this same trusting compassion for each of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants... we must rely on our system of immigration laws to protect us, and be fair to those wishing to enter our country legally.

  • Chance Loria Feb 20, 2016
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    Is anybody seeing any of this for what it is? The major complaint and fear about immigrants is about the criminal element not the law abiding element. But Obama has chosen to go after the women and children to make an example out of them. All this being done so people will vote democrat and not republican. Pretty pathetic how low this administration will sink. They spend their resources to go after women and children while leaving very dangerous illegals out there all to prove a political point. Pretty sick, huh?

  • Dale Xavier Feb 20, 2016
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    Congratulations to the teachers for showing that not ALL North Carolinians are Xenophobic, racist, fools.

  • Kioko Fulgarion Feb 20, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    More like foolish teachers for supporting a criminal.

  • Robert Fotch Jr Feb 20, 2016
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    Aiding and abetting a criminal. How wonderful.

  • Sharon Thurston Feb 19, 2016
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    Those are wonderful teachers.