NEW HAVEN -- Before sunrise teachers and students from Wilbur Cross High School piled in a bus to head to Boston for an ICE hearing on Thursday.
One of their fellow students, 18 year old Mario Aguilar Castañon, is in federal custody. He is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, who fled his native country 3 years ago to due to gang violence and death threats.
A couple of months ago, Castañon was involved a in a car accident. Police arrested him for driving under the influence, driving without a license, and without insurance. He was then picked up by ICE at court.
“ I was heartbroken he is one of my best students,” says Mary Perez Estrada, Mario’s Spanish teacher at Wilbur Cross High School.
“Mario is like one of us we are all the same,” says Yiseli Chilel, a 9th grader at Wilbur Cross High School.
Mario has been at a detention facility center in Bristol, MA. His attorneys are fighting to keep him in the states. Thursday morning, they presented an asylum case before judges at an ICE office in Boston.
“It is unfortunate, but not an uncommon story. It has happened across the nation in other states, but this hits home,” says Jesus Morales-Sanchez, from the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance .
All through this process, classmates and his teachers have supported him along the way. They’ve written hundred of letters to ICE as well. Mario has also been completing homework assignments while he is away so he can graduate on time.
“We just want him back and we’re all frustrated that this is taking so long,” says Estrada.