North Carolina Community Comes Together to Save Wildin Acosta From Deportation
Endless protest efforts and constant, direct pressure on Immigration Custom Enforcement officials have helped a North Carolina teen stave off deportation to his violent homeland of Honduras.
Wildin Acosta will now be allowed to remain in the U.S., at least until his appeal is heard, and many supporters are now hopeful he will be granted long-term asylum. The North Carolina high school student had been scheduled to be deported on March 20.
"Halting Acosta's deportation will unquestionably result in the protection of Wildin Acosta from further violence," Congressman G.K. Butterfield, among those leading the charge for Acosta's release, said in a statement.
Community Rallied Together to Help Acosta
The 19-year-old Riverside High School senior's reprieve might also have some in the pro-immigration community wondering if the combination of constant activism and direct pressure on ICE officials may be a blueprint for how best to aid loved ones on the verge of deportation.
ACLU North Carolina policy council representative Susanna Birdsong previously told Latin Post that officials from her office would be closely monitoring the situation involving Acosta.
Official word of Acosta's second chance came down on the day he was slated to be deported. ICE Director Sarah Saldana made the announcement.
Acosta was scheduled to graduate this year, and he held down a job to help support his family. Supporters had argued he was being denied his day in court and pleaded for more time to fight his case.
In the days leading up to his planned deportation, family, friends and teachers of the youth convened at Durham Central Park to voice support for him. Some Riverside students said they now plan to dedicate the week to him by donning purple in his honor and signing a petition. Another rally is scheduled for Thursday.
Acosta Held at Georgia Facility
For the time being, Acosta remains held in a rural jail in Georgia, where he was transferred after being snatched by roving deportation agents. He has previously claimed he fled Honduras and escaped to the U.S. after a gang member threatened to kill him.
His arrest came as part of the Obama administration's plan to find and deport all immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally after 2014, when a surge of unaccompanied children and families illegally crossed the border.
"Through the night, I continued my effort to persuade ICE Director Saldana to reconsider her decision to not intervene in the deportation of Wildin Acosta," Butterfield added in his statement.
He later added, "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."
Soon after Acosta was taken into custody, Latino attendance at his high school dipped dramatically, as many students chose to stay home over fear of being confronted by ICE agents.