A New Haven high school student who has been in federal detention for nearly 70 days has an immigration asylum hearing in Boston on Thursday and classmates and teachers traveled there to support him.
The group left early Thursday morning from Wilbur Cross High School to attend a hearing for 18-year-old Mario Aguilar.
“He was always such a hard worker. He was very open with me from the very beginning and always striving to do more and learn more and we’ve been devastated since he’s been gone and we want him back with us,” said Mary Perez-Estrada, Aguilar’s native Spanish teacher.
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Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Aguilar is the country illegally. He said he fled death threats and gang violence in Guatemala in 2016 to live with his uncle in New Haven.
Last year, border patrol agents arrested Aguilar and issued him a notice to appear, but he never did.
Aguilar was then detained in September after he was charged with DUI following a crash. His attorney disputes those charges.
“Aguilar-Castanon remains in ICE custody, he is still in the process of removal proceedings. He will remain in custody until his scheduled future removal from the country as per an immigration judge’s final order of removal,” a statement from ICE says.
Aguilar’s supporters said they are hoping he can remain in this country.
“We’re hopeful for the best outcome today and we’re not going to go down without a fight. We’re going to keep fighting to make sure he stays home where he belongs,” said Jesus Morales Sanchez, of the Connecticut Immigration Rights Alliance, which is known as CIRA.
The judge's decision is expected by Dec. 12.