21 Savage is no stranger to acts of humanitarianism. He has consistently been known to give back to his community in a major way. This time 21 is extending his efforts to give back by donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC is the same non-profit civil rights organization that helped him with his battle against ICE. The SPLC has dedicated their time to “fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.”
The rapper presented the SPLC with a $25,000 check that will ensure detained immigrants in the South will have access to legal counsel. Only about 17% of immigrants in Southeast detainment centers have access to an attorney during removal proceedings. The lack of legal representation leaves individuals vulnerable to family separation and deportation.
“21 Savage is making this donation public because everyday Americans need to know that ICE is using civil immigration detention as a weapon against immigrants, many of whom, like 21 Savage, have relief from deportation and are able to fix their immigration status,” immigration law attorney Charles H. Kuck said in a statement. “Creating oppressively adverse conditions of detention, like those in Irwin County, Georgia, far away from family and legal counsel, causes despair and hopelessness, and forces these men and women to give up on their immigration claims. The SPLC, through its Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative (SIFI) stands at the front line of this fight and supporting this effort lets all Americans know that the Constitution which protects the least of us, protects all of us.”
As most of us already know, 21 was arrested and detained by ICE earlier this year. This incident came about after a targeted operation in Atlanta. Immigration officials said the rapper—real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph—was born in the United Kingdom and was unlawfully present in the United States. ICE also referred to 21 as a convicted felon; his legal team disputed those claims.
“He’s not a convicted felon, so they reported that wrong, from their 2014 arrest,” attorney Jacoby Hudson said. “That arrest should be expunged. He has no felony convictions.”
21 Savage actually entered the U.S. legally at seven years old and didn’t leave until he went to visit the U.K. back in 2005. The rapper returned to the U.S. in July of that year under an H-4 visa, which expired in 2006. He reportedly applied for a visa in 2017; the application was still under review at the time of his arrest.
“I didn’t see my kids for almost two weeks,” 21 said in an interview with Paper magazine. “There are people in detention centers just sitting for months and even years not being able to see their families. Then some of those people just end up being sent off overnight to a place they ain’t never really lived and they don’t ever see their family after that.”
Big shoutout to 21 for still finding it a priority to help those in need despite his own personal struggles. He relates to what is going on at our borders on a different level and it is fitting that he offer aid to the helpless.