A British citizen popularly called Rapper 21 Savage believes that immigrants like him who lived in United States illegally should automatically be made a US citizen. The Grammy nominated artist was held in federal immigration detention this year and on Thursday night, he told the Associate Press that such immigrants shouldn’t be made to endure the lengthy process in order to obtain visa. He spoke in an exclusive interview before he was awarded by the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).
Children In US Illegally Should Be Exempted: Rapper 21 Savage
Rapper 21 Savage said in a statement, “When you’re a child, you don’t know what’s going on. Now you grow up and got to figure it out. Can’t get a job. Can’t get a license. I’m lucky because i am one of the lucky ones who became successful in US. There’s a lot of people who can’t.”
21 Savage was honored by NILC for being an advocate for immigrant justice. In February, he was arrested in what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said was a targeted operation over his expired visa. He was made to spend 10 days in detention center in south Georgia before being released.
The Atlanta-based rapper, who is a British citizen and whose given name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, moved to the United States when he was 7. His visa expired in 2006, but his lawyers claimed that wasn’t his fault.
21 Savage stated in an interview; “When you don’t have any choice, you should be exempted. “It’s not like I was 30, woke up and purposely moved over here. I found myself here since I was 7 or 8, probably younger than that. I didn’t understand the meaning of visa and all that. All I knew was that we were moving to a new place entirely.” He said that people in his shoes are innocent and naive and should automatically be made citizens.
21 Savage’s status have been known to federal immigration officials since 2017 when he applied for new visa.
According to his lawyer, the 26-year-old rapper’s immigration case still remains pending a hearing before a new judge. The process of applying for a new visa discourages a lot of other immigrants who have no documents because it “hangs over your head forever,” 21 Savage said.
“They just lose hope,” he said. “I feel like children who were brought here at a tender age should automatically be like `Yeah, you are free and good to stay here, you can also work and go to college”. It should be nipped in the bud before it gets to a point before you come of age.”
Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives also applauded 21 Savage for becoming an advocated for social justice and also shedding light on immigrants issues for the black people. Cullors stated that, “Up until the moment 21 Savage was arrested, there wasn’t a nationally or public conversation about black immigrants,” however, she introduced 21 Savage and awarded him the Courageous Luminaries award. Her activist organization led a coalition in order to facilitate his immediate release from ICE custody.
“Primarily, the conversation revolved around Latin immigrants,” she said. “His detention really pushed for a national conversation and it also made us talk about what’s happening with black people who are undocumented. All the black people currently in the United States of America aren’t just citizens.”
21 Savage was very appreciative of the award, however, he also stated that there are countless immigrants who are currently battling to stay or remain in the United States.
“There’s still a fight that we need to continue in this country,” he said. “It ain’t over yet. Even after everything is cool with me, we still have to fight and help people who can’t fight or defend themselves.”