In The Wake Of 21 Savage’s Arrest, Here’s What You Should Know About ICE
By Sharelle Burt
Rapper 21 Savage was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Sunday, with the agency claiming that he is actually from the United Kingdom and has overstayed his visa.
Shocked would be an understatement since the rapper has made quite a name for himself using the influence of Atlanta’s hip-hop culture. ICE claims that Savage entered the U.S. legally back in July 2005 when he was a minor. Apparently, he failed to leave under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa. 21, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, became an unlawful resident after his visa expired in July 2006. The timing of this news couldn’t come at a worse time. Savage is nominated for two Grammy Awards and just finished performing at Super Bowl festivities over the weekend. Black Twitter has their theories of why this happened, and honestly, some make a lot of sense.
What happened to 21 Savage is another reminder that “criminality” is a largely subjective concept. It’s not a static state of being, it’s a decision made by ppl in positions of authority to wield punitive power against certain ppl while ignoring the transgressions of others.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) February 4, 2019
21 has been very vocal about police brutality and the hip-hop culture. He made his first late night show appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon last week, performing his hit song ‘A Lot,’ where his feelings about border family separation were very apparent.
ICE has been around since 2003 but with Trump in office, they are more active than ever, targeting illegal immigrants and others trying to live the American dream. Headlines are still coming in as innocent children of immigrants are being held in detention camps. Agents have been recorded abusing them, which the agency has denied. Last year, while delivering a pizza to a military base in New York, Pablo Villavicencio was arrested and detained for two months by ICE. He was released finally as a judge found that Villavicencio had already filed to change his immigration status.
Federal agents are known for waiting outside of courthouses with photos of their targets, ready to arrest undocumented immigrants before they even enter the building. This happened in Pennslyvania when they arrested an undocumented Mexican national when he was going to pay a fine for driving without a license. Another man was arrested while he was making a child support payment at the same courthouse. This has happened so often that ICE arrests have gone up 1700 percent since 45 has taken office.
That’s not all. ICE created a fake university in 2015 in hopes of arresting foreign students from across the country. Called the University of Farmington, the website made the school look like the place to be, bragging how its “innovative curriculum combines traditional instruction and distance learning.” 130 ‘attendees’ were arrested after enrolling.
Since last year, a movement to get rid of ICE for good has been active. Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talked about dismantling ICE as a major part of their platforms. Last July, one protester was arrested after climbing the Statue of Liberty in protest of the federal agency. Trump has gone to Twitter several times to announce he is against the idea.
21’s lawyer, Dina LaPolt, said lawyers were “working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding.”
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in the country, especially in Atlanta, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy,” LaPolt said. An ICE representative went on record to say 21’s “whole public persona was false.”