Rally, lawmaker aim to delay Durham teen's deportation

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Protesters organized a rally and marched to Congressman G.K. Butterfield's office, to ask their representative for his help to stop the deportation of a Durham teenager, Wildin Guillen Acosta.

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

People gathered holding signs, chanting, calling on Butterfield for help to stall Immigration and Customs Enforcement and delay deportation plans so Guillen Acosta can plead his case.

Activists organizing the protest, from Alerta Migratoria NC, said they're concerned his due-process rights are being violated as Guillen Acosta is waiting to hear on a pending motion to re-open his case.

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They feel ICE is not letting Acosta have his day in court, so they've calling on Butterfield to persuade immigration officials to give him more time to fight his case.

In a statement to ABC11, Congressmen Butterfield said:

"Over the past few days, I have spoken with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 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. Mr. Acosta and other young people like him fled extreme violence and mayhem in Central America in search of refuge and a better life in the United States. I believe our limited resources would be better served focusing on dangerous criminals who pose a threat to our communities rather than high school students and teenagers trying to make better lives for themselves."

Butterfield's office said he received assurance from ICE Director, Sarah Saldaña that a decision would be made before the end of Friday, in the following statement:

Bryan Cox, spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the region, said the teenager was detained Jan. 28 and that "Mr. Guillen-Acosta falls within an ICE priority category due to a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge in March 2015."

MORE: Durham students avoid school over deportation fears

We spoke to family and friends earlier - all of them heartbroken and devastated.

His sister, Katherin Ruby Guillen Acosta, said in an interview that things would be grim for her brother if he were to be deported.

"What can we expect in our native countries? Death, delinquency," she said in Spanish. "And if we come here, it's because we're fleeing from the delinquency over there, in Honduras."

MORE: Deportation vigil held for 4 Durham teens

A decade-long family friend of the Guillen Acosta family, and mentor to Wildin, said the teenager was an active soccer player and a big dreamer before he was captured by ICE agents and sent to a holding facility in Georgia.

"He was planning to go to Durham Tech after high school and he would like to become an engineer. Also to support his family; and he was a hard-working person," Ivan Almonte said.

"I know him and he's responsible. He's just a good example for other kids that immigrated from other countries. He wanted to be a better person," he added.

Wildin's mother, Delsia Acosta, said she spoke with her son twice Thursday, and that they both cried together, scared of what might come as they await the decision on whether or not there will be a delay on the Sunday deportation, but she said she's keeping her hopes alive in faith and prayer.

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