Wildin Acosta, the high school student who had been in federal immigration custody since January, was released Friday after his parents posted a $10,000 bond in Charlotte, a Latino advocacy group announced Saturday.
Acosta, 19, was released Friday night from the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, into the “open arms” of his mother, Dilsia Acosta, and members of Alerta Migratoria, group spokesman Ivan Almonta stated in a press release.
Acosta was at his Durham home Saturday morning, Almonte reported.
Almonte, who is also a mentor of Wildin, stated that “this is a big win for our community. None of this would have been possible without all the people who stood by Wildin in his time of need. But this fight is not over. We still have more youths who are still detained or could very well be in detention soon.”
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Almonte said the teen and his family need time alone before talking with the media “due to the trauma of prolonged detention.”
“Wildin and his family ask that they be given space to reconnect as a family and for Wildin to readjust to the world outside of detention,” Almonte stated. “Their family has been separated for over six months and were in constant fear that Wildin would be deported.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Acosta on Jan. 28 as he left his Durham home for school. Since then, immigration activists, teachers, fellow students, Durham city officials and U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield have called for his release and for a new hearing to consider his request for asylum.
Acosta told immigration authorities he was fleeing gang violence in his native Honduras when he was stopped at the Texas border in 2014. 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 for him, but Acosta’s case for asylum was never heard on its merits.
Butterfield, a Democrat from Wilson who visited Acosta at the detention center in May, issued a statement Saturday hailing Acosta’s release. “Now that Wildin is out of detention he will finally have the opportunity to present his case for asylum,” Butterfield stated.
Almonte said a hearing could be a year or two away.
Last month, the federal Board of Immigration Appeals agreed to reopen the case and Butterfield wrote to ICE director Sarah Saldana, urging her to release Acosta.
Acosta was a senior at Riverside and set to graduate June 8. He wanted to enroll in college and study engineering this fall.