Durham teen detained by immigration officials gets new hearing

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The Durham County teenager who was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody earlier this year for being an illegal immigrant will get a new hearing.

By AJ Janavel

Wildin Acosta - Teenager facing deportation - Durham
Wildin Acosta – Teenager facing deportation – Durham

Wildin Acosta, 19, was picked up by ICE at his house on his way to school and detained six months ago. For months, CBS North Carolina has been covering the fight to keep the Riverside High School student in the United States.

Although supporters say they are happy for Acosta to have the chance to start over with his case, they also say they won’t be satisfied until he is free and back with his family.

Many of them know Acosta well, while some are fighting for him even though they’ve never met him.

“For the past six months Wildin has been put in a position that is not safe and he can’t learn,” said Durham teacher Holly Hardin. “I’m doing everything in my power as our many teachers here in Durham to make sure he comes back home.”

To show their support, Hardin and others held rallies, wrote to lawmakers and even visited Acosta hours away in a detention center in Georgia.

Acosta’s attorney says the news about her client’s appeal being upheld is great.

“Huge victory last night but I will say that it was short lived, even though his immigration proceedings have been reopened he is still in ICE custody,” said Evelyn Smallwood, Acosta’s attorney.

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 in February as he left his home, ICE said.

Since February, Smallwood has been fighting for Acosta’s freedom.

An appellate court agreed with Smallwood’s appeal and now the order of removal has been revoked. Smallwood can now start over with Acosta’s case. Although this is true, Acosta is still detained.

Smallwood said she plans to unite the teenager with his family.

“I’m not going to stop working until Wildin has asylum,” said Smallwood.

ICE has yet to respond to several motions filed for Acosta’s release.

The next option for his release is applying for bond. This could happen as soon as mid-August, according to his attorney.

Credits: WNCN

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