DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – An immigration judge denied a request to stop the deportation of Riverside High School student who was detained by officials Jan. 28, officials said.
Wildin David Guillen-Acosta was going to school in Durham until immigration officials took him into custody. He’s being held at a facility in Georgia.
Guillen-Acosta is scheduled to be deported this weekend. In a statement to WNCN Friday evening, ICE Deputy Press Secretary Jennifer Elzea indicated that the process will go forward as scheduled.
“Wildin David Guillen-Acosta, a 19-year-old Honduran national, was taken into U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) custody Jan. 28, 2016, in the parking lot of his residence. Mr. Guillen-Acosta falls within an ICE priority category due to a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge in March 2015,” she told CBS North Carolina.
She stressed that the deportation proceedings fall within the priorities announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in November 2014. Among other priorities, those who have been apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States, those who are recent border-crossers and those who have received a final order of removal on or after Jan. 1, 2014 will be deported, according to a statement by ICE. All of those circumstances apply to Guillen-Acosta.
The group in support of the teen gathered at the Duke United Methodist Church on Chapel Hill Street Friday asking for the teen’s release.
Ana Kistler was one of Guillen-Acosta’s teachers at Riverside High School. She explained why she came out for the student.
“He was not one of the students who would come in and goof off and play on his cell phone. He was just always focused and you know really happy to have an education,” Kistler said. “He’s not a criminal and if in fact they are just trying to focus on people who come over here and are doing wrong.”
They began to march around 4 p.m. to Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s office on Chapel Hill Street where they demanded to talk to the congressman.
A representative from Butterfield’s office spoke to the demonstrators and told them that the status of Guillen-Acosta will be known at 5 p.m.
“It has not been easy,” Dilsia Acosta, Guillen-Acosta mother said.
Through a translator, Acosta explained to CBS North Carolina what it’s been like to have her son picked up by ICE agents.
“The gangs are my main concern,” Dilsia Acosta said.
She said that’s what led her son to flee in the first place. His life was in danger. Ivan Almonte is a family friend and spoke with Guillen-Acosta late Friday afternoon.
“He’s positive about it. He was really happy just to know that the community is fighting for him,” Almonte said.
In a statement late Friday afternoon before the ICE decision, Butterfield wrote, “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. 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.”
A spokesman for ICE says border patrol agents spotted Guillen-Acosta trying to enter the country illegally in June 2014. After he failed to show up for an immigration hearing, an immigration judge ordered him removed from the U.S. in March 2015. He was taken into custody last month as he left his home, ICE said.
Guillen-Acosta had been attending classes at Riverside High School in Durham.
In late February, Guillen-Acosta’s teachers sent the teen his homework twice. Stewart Detention Center in Georgia refused to accept homework.