Photo by Alex Boerner
Wildin Acosta waits of to the side of a press conference before speaking to members of the press Monday evening in Durham.
Without giving a reason, an immigration judge in Charlotte last night postponed an asylum hearing for Wildin Acosta that was scheduled for this morning.
Acosta, a Riverside High School graduate
, had fled his native Honduras under the threat of gang violence three years ago. He was expected to testify this morning on his application for asylum, but Judge Stuart Couch has delayed that hearing until October 3.
In a video posted last night by Alerta Migratoria, Acosta says he got a call at about seven p.m. from his attorney telling him Couch has continued his case.
"We don't know why. We don't understand what led him to do this," Viridiana Martinez says in the video, translating for Acosta. "Wildin wants to thank everyone who has pressured, everyone who has sent letters, everyone who has supported him. His case is ongoing. We hope to see you all there."
Acosta came to the United States in 2014 as an unaccompanied minor to reunite with his parents, who were already in North Carolina. He was detained by ICE
in January 2016 outside of his house while on his way to school. He spent about seven months in immigration detention centers, including time in solitary confinement, before being released on bail.
His detention jolted the Durham and Riverside communities into action. Attendance at Riverside dipped as other students feared they would be detained. Teachers and elected officials spoke out on his behalf. Students traveled to Washington, D.C., to call for his release.
Acosta is seeking asylum in the U.S. on the grounds that he would face persecution for his religious beliefs if he returns to Honduras. A devout Christian, he had been targeted for trying to evangelize members of the M-18 gang.
The Durham City Council, Durham County Commissioners, and the Durham Human Relations Commission
have all sent letters in support of Acosta, who helped support his family with a job in construction and had plans to attend Durham Tech.
"We have welcomed him and are all the better for it," reads a letter
from Board of Commissioners chairwoman Wendy Jacobs. "Despite being detained for nine months at Steward Detention Center, Wildin has persevered and, in June of this same year, he finally graduated from Riverside High School in Durham. Those of us in Durham who have watched him overcome the many obstacles he has faced could not be more proud of him.”