Mario Aguilar Castanon, formerly threatened with deportation, has been granted asylum by the U.S. Immigration Court in Boston. After a delay during which it appeared he might be kept in detention pending an appeal by ICE, the teenager was released and returned home.
Attorney Dalia Fuleihan told reporters at City Hall that they received the judge’s decision Monday.
“I’m not going to give too many details about the basis for the decision for Mario’s own privacy and his security,” she explained, “but the judge did find that he had been persecuted in Guatemala and that he had a well-founded fear of being persecuted if he went back there, and so gave him asylum.”
Fuleihan said she’s waiting to see whether ICE will appeal the decision in the next 30 days.
Aguilar was taken into detention by ICE in September. Wilbur Cross principal Edith Johnson said despite their best efforts, the school was unsuccessful in getting the student his schoolwork to keep him from falling behind.
“We have gathered all the schoolwork, we’ve tried to submit it, and they refuse to let it in,” she said. “They literally have told us through his lawyers that he can’t get any of the textbooks or books that we sent. They sent it all back -- I mean binders of work. So he hasn’t been able to do any of his schoolwork because the detention center has not allowed it in.”
Aguilar was arrested as he was going to court in connection with a car crash.
His case has gotten national attention and been the focus of local protests by the community and his high school classmates.
This post has been updated to reflect Aguilar's release.