Rapper 21 Savage has received some help from up high.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) wrote a letter to an immigration judge in defense of 21 Savage. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested the artist the during Super Bowl LIII weekend after accusations of overstaying his visa from the United Kingdom.
Johnson defended the artist, whose name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, calling him a “remarkable young man”. Johnson cited “deep family roots and personal ties to the state of Georgia,” why 21 Savage shouldn’t be deported.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained the letter dated February 3rd.
“She’yaa was born outside of the United States and moved here at a very young age with his parents, sister and brother,” Johnson wrote. “He was raised and spent his formative years in and around Atlanta, and he has developed deep family roots and personal ties to our wonderful state of Georgia, and to Gwinnett and DeKalb counties in particular. She’yaa’s immediate family members residing there include his mother, three sisters, two brothers and three children. She’yaa is the primary breadwinner for most of his siblings, and for his children.”
Johnson is a Democrat who represents Georgia’s 4th District. The Congressman got to know 21 Savage by attending his back-to-school giveaway in August.
The attorneys for the artist released a statement Tuesday evening stating ICE released “incorrect information” regarding his criminal history.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was born in the United Kingdom,” read the statement. Mr. Abraham-Joseph arrived legally in the United States at the age of 7 under an H-4 visa. He remained in the U.S. until June 2005, when he departed for approximately one month to visit the United Kingdom. He returned to the U.S. under a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005. Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been continuously present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad. Unfortunately, Mr. Abraham-Joseph lost his legal status through no fault of his own.”
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an H-4 visa is issued to spouses and children 21 and younger. They are for people who hold H 1-B visas which allow foreign workers in specialty occupations.
In addition, 21 Savage is not subject to mandatory detention under federal law and is eligible for bond. The statement further lists Savage as a ‘Dreamer’ citing they “come from all walks life and every ethnicity.”
As a result, speculation as to possible ulterior motives for his arrest and detention have been floated. He released music five days prior to his arrest, including lyrics that condemn immigration officials detention of children at the border.
As the layers unfold, 21 Savage’s case is being championed by many. From fellow entertainers to the Black Lives Matter movement, his plight is in line with Trump’s controversial immigration reform.