Connecticut student detained by ICE for months granted asylum, released to family

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Mario Aguilar — the 18-year-old who was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for at least three months — was granted asylum by an immigration court judge Monday.

According to the New Haven Register Tuesday night, Aguilar was “released and returned to New Haven in time to reunite with his family and friends before the new year.”

Asylum is protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country usually as a political refugee.

His legal team confirmed the news to News 8 Monday night.

Aguilar, a Guatemalan native, came to the United States when he was 16 to escape death threats from an organized criminal gang in Guatemala and was attending Wilbur Cross High School.

Aguilar was in a car crash back in August and was charged with driving under the influence.

When he went to the Milford courthouse on Sep. 10, ICE officials grabbed him and detained him.

“It’s tough,” Ben Haldman, Aguilar’s attorney, told News 8 during on a rally on Dec. 23. ” He’s been in there for over 100 days. 3 months and that wears on you. He’s in a room with 60 other guys in bunk beds. That’s his entire existence right now. It’s really tough.”

ICE plans to appeal the decision.

CT Students for a Dream — a group that was founded by undocumented students and allies from across the state — had been fundraising and working to fight for his release.

“There was really no reason he should have been in detainment in the first place,” said Anthony Barroso with CT Students for a Dream. “He’s not a harm to society. He’s not going to flee; he has a lot of support here in our community. Our priority is to get him out of detention as soon as possible.”

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