Wildin Guillen Acosta, the Riverside High School student who was detained by immigration officials in January while on his way to school, will have an opportunity to argue against deportation in federal court.
The federal Board of Immigration Appeals agreed to reopen his case Tuesday.
Many in the Triangle have rallied for Acosta’s release since his arrest seven months ago. The 19-year-old’s case has highlighted the difficulties that children fleeing countries gripped by violence have after entering the United States illegally.
Acosta, who was a senior at Riverside when ICE officials arrested him on Jan. 28, has a case that goes back almost two years.
He was stopped at the Texas border by federal agents in 2014 after fleeing his native Honduras. He attended a court hearing on Dec. 17, 2014, but failed to show up for one in March 2015. On March 30, 2015, a deportation order was issued, but Acosta’s case for asylum was never heard on its merits.
Acosta has been held in the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga., since his arrest by ICE.
U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from Wilson whose district includes Durham, has lobbied for Acosta to be able to argue his case on its merits. Now that he will get that chance, Butterfield hopes to free Acosta from detention. He has written to ICE director Sarah Saldaña urging her to exercise her authority and release Acosta.
“After nearly six months in detention, it’s time for Wildin to come home to Durham,” Butterfield said in a statement. “...I will keep fighting for him until he is home where he belongs.”