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ICE drops charges on 21 Savage

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ICE drops charges on 21 Savage

Jacqueline Walker

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As you may have already heard due to the overwhelming attention it brought on social media, on Super Bowl Sunday, Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, who goes by the stage name of 21 Savage, was arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Savage came to the US from the UK in 2005 with his family when he was just 7 years old, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. This was shocking news for most people because Savage has rapped about his rough upbringing in Atlanta so often that it seems absurd that he is infact a British citizen.

The visa they were under only permitted them to stay for a year, but instead they overstayed it until now. Although the expiration of his visa was through no fault of his own because he was a minor, 21 Savage was faced with the risk of possible deportation, and was held in ICE detention for 9 days. His lawyer stated that ‘The only reason ICE can detain somebody is if he’s a flight risk, which he clearly is not, or a danger to the community, which he also clearly is not’. Contrary to popular belief, Savage does not actually have any convictions for drugs charges and has remarkable ties to the community – he has worked with the police and local prosecutors to get rid of gun violence and also in encouraging kids not to get into gangs.

A Black Lives Matter activist’s campaign demanded 21 Savage to be released, gaining hundreds of thousands of signatures in only a few days. If someone as harmless to a community and someone who actively participates in organizations to better the lives of people is facing deportation charges, the basis on which someone is eligible for deportation should be reevaluated.  Savage even has 3 children who are US citizens.

On February 12, Savage was finally released on Bond, and granted an expedited deportation hearing. His legal team stated that ‘He will not forget this ordeal or any of the other fathers, sons, family members and faceless people he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated across the country. He asks for your minds and hearts to be with them’.

The rap/ hip hop community has really come together over this, with artists such as DJ Khalid tweeting “No person in this world deserves to be treated like this,”  “The time for change is now,” and the hashtag, #Free21Savage went viral. Although Savage has now been released on Bond, which allows an arrested person to be released from jail until their case is completed –  he could still potentially be deported at a later time.

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