21 Savage Immigration Case

Liiban Aga’ 19 has strong feelings about his favorite artist's arrest.

Jake Goldsmith

Liiban Aga’ 19 has strong feelings about his favorite artist’s arrest.

Shayaabin Abraham-Joseph, also known as rapper 21 Savage, was taken into custody in early February 2019.  Allegedly, the Grammy-nominated artist overstayed his visa from England which expired in 2006 when he first moved to Atlanta with his mom. Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers said back in 2017 the rapper applied for a U-visa; a special visa given to victims of crime in the United States that cooperate with law enforcement, but ultimately there was a miscommunication with ICE that lead to him not receiving the visa. Nonetheless, he has made a name for himself on the Atlanta music scene due to his lyrics about growing up in East Atlanta and the “21” in his name refers to a street gang from Decatur.

After his arrest there was a lot of shock in the community. A petition went viral with the #Free21Savage, and many huge Grammy-nominated artist like Post Malone came out in support of Abraham-Joseph. Liiban Aga ’19, a 21 Savage fan, said, “21 has been one of my favorite artists for a long time, and I was very confused and upset when I first heard of his arrest. I understand why from the outside this looks like it’s only a story because he’s a rapper; however, 21 Savage has been doing major work for his community.”

In a statement to CNN, one of Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers talked about his influence on his community. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths.”  He has opened programs like “21 Savage Bank Account,” a campaign that gave $1,000 to a group of Atlanta teens to start a bank account and learn about financial literacy.

“It is illegal to do what 21 Savage did, but he has come a long way from when he first came to America, and has had a generally positive impact on the community,” said Liiban Aga ’19

Abraham-Joseph’s arrest has been labeled as “shameful” by ‘The New Yorker,’ and many people have called out the manner in which the arrest was made, in addition to many new immigration policies that have arose during the Trump administration. Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers claimed, “This is a civil law violation and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose that to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his rights.” Famous artists like DJ Khaled spoke out after his arrest saying, “No person in the world deserves to be treated like this, the time for change is now.” Aga ’19 told a story he saw from 21 Savage’s Instagram, account. “He said when he was arrested he heard officers say “We got savage.” He added on, “His arrest had many suspicions that made it seem like a targeted hit.”

The case will still be looked back on when new immigration policies are considered because it highlights the one and a half generation of immigrants who lived most of their childhood in America and become assimilated to the culture. They are brought as young kids by their parents when they have no control, but then grow up illegally after their stay expires.  21 Savage rapped a lot about being from Atlanta and clearly became very immersed in the culture. Aga ’19 added, “It is illegal to do what 21 Savage did, but he has come a long way from when he first came to America and has had a generally positive impact on the community.”

Although Abraham-Joseph’s case is still in progress, he has been released from his previously sentenced twenty-three hours days of detention and is expected to prevail in his case due to his reputation as well as the abundance of resources that are available to him.  He still may face some sort of punishment, but deportation is unlikely at this time.

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