Today, Wildin David Guillen Acosta of Durham faces what could be his last immigration court date in Charlotte.
Acosta, now twenty, was detained as an eighteen-year-old on his way to school at Riverside High. He is among six North Carolina youth who had fled danger in Central America and were detained by ICE that same winter and placed at Stewart Detention Center in Georgia
. Today’s one p.m. court before Judge Stuart Couch could decide whether Acosta is granted asylum or is deported back to Honduras.
In October, Couch extended Acosta’s case until today
. He said at a hearing then that the public pressure in support of Wildin was directed at the wrong officials. "While the court appreciates the efforts of individuals, as a legal matter it is highly inappropriate ... to contact a judge directly outside the confines of the court.”
“I want to emphasize that I have granted two continuances because you asked for it," Couch told Acosta, "but, sir, it is time to get your case resolved."
Acosta’s case was among the most highly publicized of the NC6, with official, outspoken support from U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield and the Durham City Council, Durham County commissioners, and the Durham Human Relations Commission.
Acosta and his supporters, including his new wife, Angela, fear for his safety if he returns to Honduras. Acosta had fled death threats by gangs. This week, citizens of Honduras are in an especially precarious and dangerous situation, as clashes between protesters and military police
have erupted during presidential elections, killing at least one civilian and injuring scores of others, including journalists. The entire country is currently under a military-imposed curfew.
As the INDY reported in October
, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, from fiscal years 2011–16, Couch granted just 71 of 386 asylum applications that came before him. Out of 268 immigration judges, he ranks 74th for the most denials.