COMMENT & OPINION: 21 Savage’s Deportation is Not Just Racist, it’s Religious Bigotry
By Quinton Reed
Our nation is a nation of immigrants. We stole land from the indigenous peoples hundreds of years ago and made it ours. Why? The Separatists in the United Kingdom sought religious freedom from the Church of England.
Statue of Puritan Separatist William Bradford who claimed Plymouth
Under the leadership of William Bradford, the Puritan Separatists made a pilgrimage across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower. The party landed in the ‘new world’ where they established a colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is a familiar story. Without admission that they claimed land which was not theirs to claim. We are taught that the theft was a thing of greatness. American schools, from elementary through high school perpetuate that base lie. Yet, here we are in 2019, attempting to wall off our borders. Take the case of 21 Savage.
A Little More History
Sheyaa Bin Abraham Joseph, better known as 21 Savage, is a 26-year-old rapper, songwriter, and record producer based in Atlanta, Georgia. On February 3rd, 2019, Abraham Joseph’s vehicle was pulled over and he was arrested by ICE (The U.S. Immigrations and Custom’s Enforcement) due to his and his passengers’ involvement in aggravated assault and violation of the Georgia Gang Act. After his arrest, ICE revealed that Abraham Joseph was an unlawful occupant of the United States, due to an expired visa.
Bridging the Gap
ICE arrested 21 Savage on gang charges and revealed he was illegally in the United States.
At first glance, 21 Savage’s arrest seems textbook; an immigrant of color with a markedly un-European name is arrested due to suspected gang activity and is found to have overstaying his welcome. However, the details of 21 Savage’s case are more complicated than a simple case of ICE-saves-the-day-from-outsiders-once-again.
First of all
ICE and Abraham-Joseph’s legal team can’t agree on simple facts. ICE claims he emigrated at or around the age of fourteen, while the legal team insists he emigrated at the age of seven. ICE claims he has a previous conviction, and the legal team says he does not.
21 Savage shown here with his gorgeous mom came with her to the United States as a young child.
It is not as if Abraham-Joseph has made no attempt to legalize his stay in the United States. His Mother entered the United States with an H-2 visa, an employment visa for service industries. 21 Savage entered with an H-4, which is essentially the derivative of the H-2 visa for a child.
Georgia is Unwelcoming
Alex Spiro, a well-known celebrity lawyer claims that when Savage’s visa expired, he application for a U visa (a visa to protect victims of crime and their families) in 2014 and again in 2017, and–whether this is true or not–it isn’t at all unbelievable, given that Georgia is among the worst states for immigrants seeking citizenship; the denial of asylum is 95% percent where the national average is between 45-50%. Furthermore, 21 Savage may be eligible for bond, based on the statements of his attorneys, meaning he was detained without bond despite potential eligibility.