DURHAM, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — A teenager who spent months in federal custody under threat of deportation is spoke in Durham Monday about his experience behind bars and his plans for the future.
Wildin Acosta held a news conference, the first time he’s spoken publicly since he was released earlier this month from a detention center in rural Georgia.
He spoke in Spanish while a translator relayed his message to the crowd.
Acosta said that it’s difficult to explain what he went through while he was kept away from family and friends in North Carolina.
During the news conference he also says the beds at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia were narrow and small and detainees could watch, but not listen, to television.
He did make friends, however, and said he learned a lot from his experience.
He also wants to help three other North Carolina teens who are still detained.
“Therefore, if I can become a strong voice in my community, I’m going to do it. I’m going to be that voice that says the Latino community is here,” Acosta said via translator Roxana Bendezu.
Acosta has the chance to go back to Riverside High to enroll in school again.
Acosta was a senior at Riverside High in Durham and on his way to school when federal immigration agents arrested him in January. His deportation was temporarily halted in March.
He is out on $10,000 bond.
Acosta has said he fled Honduras in 2014 because a gang member threatened to kill him. He hopes to win asylum.
Also speaking was other previously detained refugee youth living in North Carolina, along with their families.