Wildin David Guillen Acosta

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Officials at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia have released an undocumented Durham teenager from restrictive housing after nine days.

Durhamites gathered at the LGBTQ Center to write letters.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

Nearly a dozen people are hunched over a long table at the LGBTQ Center of Durham on a recent evening.

They're scrawling hopeful sentiments on brightly-colored pieces of paper. The letters of support are headed to six young men arrested in North Carolina in targeted immigration enforcement actions in January.

An image of Wildin David Guillen Acosta
The Acosta family

Riverside High School senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was detained by ICE officers in January. Acosta sought asylum in the United States after he says his life was threatened by gangs in his native Honduras.

Legal efforts to stop his deportation failed, but over the weekend, Congressman G.K. Butterfield convinced the director of ICE, Sarah Saldana, to issue an executive stay that allows Acosta to remain in a detention facility in Georgia.

Riverside High School students called for the release of Wildin Acosta outside Congressman G.K. Butterfield's Durham office.
Jess Clark / WUNC

UPDATED March 20, 2016 On Sunday morning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Sarah Salaña issued an order preventing the deportation of Riverside High School student Wildin Acosta before his case has been heard by an immigration judge. Congressman G.K. Butterfield says he worked through Saturday night with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) to convince Saldaña to use her executive authority. This is apparently an about-face from Salaña's decision on Friday night not to intervene.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was headed to school on a typical morning in January when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained him and took him into custody.

Acosta is being held in a facility in Georgia, awaiting deportation to his native Honduras. Acosta says he came to the United States to escape the ultimatum of a violent gang: join us or we will kill you.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

On a cold morning in late January, Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta started his car to warm it up for the drive to school. He went inside his family’s Durham apartment to grab his book bag, and when he came back out, two Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, or ICE officers, were waiting for him.