Officials halt deportation of Durham teen

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Family, friends, and teachers rally for Wilden Acosta (WTVD)

A Durham teen will not be deported until his appeal can be heard, Congressman G.K. Butterfield announced Sunday.

ICE director Sarah Saldana issued an order Sunday morning to prevent Wildin Acosta from being deported.

The deportation of the 19-year-old to Honduras was planned for Sunday.

Read more: Rally, lawmaker aim to delay Durham teen's deportation

Acosta's supporters felt ICE was not letting Acosta have his day in court, so they called on Butterfield to persuade immigration officials to give him more time to fight his case.

"[Halting Acosta's deportation] 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," Butterfield said in a statement.

Family, friends, and teachers gathered at Durham Central Park Saturday to show their support for the teen. Some students at Riverside High School will dedicate the week to him. They will wear purple in his honor and sign a petition. Another rally is planned for Thursday.

Acosta is being held in a rural jail in Georgia. He says he fled Honduras after a gang member threatened to kill him.

His arrest is part of the Obama administration's efforts to find and deport immigrants who were part of the 2014 surge of illegal crossings by unaccompanied children and families.

Read Butterfield's entire statement below:

"Through the night, I continued my efforts to persuade ICE Director Sarah Saldana 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-Committeeon on Immigration and Border Security.

This morning, ICE Director Sarah Saldana issued an order preventing the deportation of Wildin Acosta until the legal process can take place in an orderly manner.

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 Saldana, 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."


The Associated Press contributed to this report

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