Rally for local teen facing deportation

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Dozens of people gathered in the sanctuary at Iglesia Nueva Vida Friday night, rallying for the release of Josue Soriano-Cortez.

On Monday, the 19-year-old from Thomasville was arrested at home during an immigration raid.

Cortez — who doesn’t have a criminal record — is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador and has been living in the U.S. for a year and a half.

He’s now being held in a detention center in Georgia and could be deported.

His brother Elman broke down in tears, describing the violence in El Salvador.

“I’m very concerned and very afraid right now as to what will happen to him especially if he’s deported because he’s been receiving a lot of death threats,” said Elman Soriano-Cortez.

Different gangs had been trying to recruit his Josue which is why he escaped.

Family members say the only notice Cortez ever got was a deportation letter in October 2014.

Activist Elisa Benitez says Josue’s story is not unusual.

She’s part of the group Alerta Migratoria NC which wants the federal government to stop immigration raids.

“They’re inhumane,” Benitez said. “They’re unjust, and they’re very cruel.”

Immigration and customs enforcement officials did not respond to calls made from FOX8 in reference to this case.

Cortez is working with an attorney to try to get a stay of removal which would stop deportation for six months to one year.

If granted, he would use that time to try to apply for asylum.