Local News

Durham teen granted stay of deportation

Posted March 21, 2016 11:25 p.m. EDT

— Nineteen-year-old Wildin “David” Guillen Acosta was granted a stay of deportation Monday, according to his attorney. This update came one day after ICE Director Sarah Saldaña agreed to delay his planned deportation from the United States until he had exhausted his appeals.

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. 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.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield has taken up his case, and it was his efforts that secured a stay from Saldaña.

“Through the night, I continued my efforts to persuade ICE Director Sarah Saldaña to reconsider her decision to not intervene in the deportation of Wildin Acosta. I was joined in this effort during the night by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-California) who is the ranking Democrat on the Sub-Committee​on on Immigration and Border Security," Butterfield said Sunday.

"On behalf of the Acosta family and their hundreds of friends in Durham, North Carolina, and around the country, I extend my appreciation to the Obama Administration, Director Saldaña, and other senior officials responsible for border security for this most appropriate decision. It will unquestionably result in the protection of Wildin Acosta from further violence in his native country of Honduras. It is my hope that he will be eventually granted asylum in the United States.”

Acosta is being held in a Georgia detention facility, and his family planned a news conference for Sunday evening to ask for his release.

"We cannot call victory until Wildin is free from his jail cell in Georgia and returned to North Carolina and Riverside High School," a family spokesperson said. "Let Wildin pursue his appeal, let him be with his parents and fellow students, let him graduate from Riverside High School."