Undocumented Durham Teen To Get A New Hearing

Jul 20, 2016

Wildin Acosta, an undocumented Durham teenager in federal detention, will get a new hearing.
Credit Courtesy of the Acosta family

The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Immigration Appeals will reopen the case of an undocumented Durham teen in Georgia's Stewart Detention Center.

Wildin Acosta, 19, was arrested in January on his way to Durham's Riverside High School. He says he came to the U.S. illegally to avoid gang violence in his native Honduras.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-Wilson) announced Tuesday that the board granted Acosta's request for a hearing. Butterfield is calling for Acosta to be released on his own recognizance.

In a statement, Butterfield said he was "overjoyed" the bureau reopened the case.

"After nearly six months in detention, it’s time for Wildin to come home to Durham," Butterfield said. "Although the BIA's decision is a victory for Wildin and his family, Riverside High School, the City of Durham, and the many advocates who have been fighting on behalf of Wildin since his detainment by ICE officials in late-January, our work is not done until he returns home."
 
Acosta's attorney, Evelyn Smallwood, said she hopes ICE will release Acosta on bond for the time being.
 
"Wildin is waiting for a hearing on his immigration case and that has not yet been scheduled," Smallwood said. "Depending on where he is, whether he's detained or whether he's released, will determine where that is, whether it's in Charlotte or whether it's in Stewart."

In 2015, the Immigration Court at Stewart approved 5 percent of asylum petitions. The one in Charlotte approved 13 percent, according to federal statistics.