Wildin Acosta, a migrant Honduran teenager jailed in the US. (Photo: Alerta Migratoria NC)., All rights reserved
An immigration judge finally ceded to community demands and is allowing high schooler Wildin Acosta to be released from the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia upon receipt of a $10,000 bond. Wildin’s teachers, friends, and concerned persons quickly amassed the sum and eagerly await his exit from private prison corporation CCA’s facility, where he has been held for the past eight months.
“Once again it has been shown that it makes a difference when we organize ourselves to stop these deportations. It means that we as an active community are stronger than any anti-immigrant law or policy,” said Viridiana Martínez, a leader of AlertaMigratoriaNC, which spearheaded the fight to free Wildin.
Wildin Acosta was arrested as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) dragnet this year specifically targeting so-called “family units,” unaccompanied minors and mothers with small children who arrived at the southern U.S. border in the summer of 2014 from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, seeking asylum. The three countries have been suffering from the world’s highest homicide rates, and young boys and girls have been particularly vulnerable to the violence. He was picked up as he waited for his school bus in Durham, NC the morning of January 28, in violation of DHS directives to avoid traumatic arrests of minors, mothers, small children and others with no criminal records.
On Tuesday, August 9, 2016, Wildin’s attorney, Evelyn Smallwood, was informed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, the policing arm of DHS) had accepted a deal to release Wildin on a $10,000 bond. In testament to the overwhelming public support for the Central American teen, the money was quickly amassed and sent to the court.
Wildin’s path to gaining the right to rejoin his family in the United States continues. When he is released from Stewart, he will be free to pursue his asylum case, and if that is successful, he will have refugee status for one year. From there he can apply for residency.