The surprise arrest of rapper Savage by the US immigration police , on the grounds that he is British and in an illegal situation in the United States, sparked a wave of solidarity with the young musician, threatened with expulsion while on the rise in the United States.
The 26-year-old rapper Sha Yaa Bin Abraham Joseph, whose real name is – was arrested Sunday in Atlanta by US immigration police.
His arrest, one week away from the US Grammy Awards, for which he was named, surprised his entourage: 21 Savage, whose last album has been in the top of the US sales charts since the beginning of the month, has always been a native of Atlanta, the state capital of Georgia and also the informal capital of rap and hip-hop.
“I grew up in Atlanta, everyone knows me,” he said in a 2016 interview with the Youtube channel VladTV, with his typical southern US accent. “If you do not know me, it’s because you’re not from this city.”
According to Bryan Spox, spokesman for the Immigration Police (ICE), the rapper legally arrived in the United States in July 2005, when he was still a minor, but remained beyond the expiration date of his visa, in July 2006.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is currently being held by ICE in Georgia and awaiting deportation proceedings in federal court, “Spox said, also recalling that the rapper was sentenced in 2014 for a narcotics-related offense. Convictions are often an aggravating fact for migration authorities.
But a rapper’s lawyer, Charles Kuck, assured Monday that the rapper “has never hidden his migratory status from the authorities.” And that he had filed in 2017 a request for a “U” visa, a type of visa reserved for victims of crime.
The lawyer did not specify what kind of crimes Savage would have been victim of.
The lawyer acknowledged that the rapper’s family had remained in the United States without a valid visa, effectively placing their child in an irregular situation.
Mr. Kuck argued that he would do anything to get the rapper out of jail and prevent him from being deported.
He stressed that the rapper was not likely to flee, that he had children American citizens, and that “his contributions to the neighborhoods and schools where he grew up are an example of the kind of immigrants we want to the States. -United”.
Several artists and personalities of the music also expressed their solidarity with the young rapper.
“A black that is successful,” tweeted the rapper Offset, the trio Migos. “They always try to break us.”
SUCCESSFUL BLACK MAN— OFFSET (@OffsetYRN) February 4, 2019
THEY ALWAYS TRY SOME WAY TO BRING US DOWN ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾
“Free 21”, tweeted another rapper, Meek Mill, himself released from prison last year after violent protests provoked by the unusually heavy sentence he had been sentenced for violating the conditions of his probation.
Free 21 🗡— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) February 4, 2019
Other musicians, such as Lil Yachty and Vince Staples, or sound engineer Alex Tumay, who work a lot in Atlanta, also denounced his arrest.
“Abolish ICE,” tweeted Tumay, echoing a slogan dear to many critics of the anti-immigration policy of Donald Trump, whose ICE is the executor.
“ICE stops celebrities to make them forget that they can not get children separated from their parents,” he said, referring to the hundreds of children separated from their parents at the border in recent months.
21 Savage has signed two albums, his first solo, “Issa Album” in 2017, and “I Am> I Was” at the end of 2018, which rose to the top of US sales in the first two weeks of 2019.
The young musician evokes themes that have marked his life, such as drugs, racism and police violence.
Since his arrest, some British media have reported that Savage was originally from Newham, east of London, but the information has not been confirmed on the US side.