21 Savage arrested by ICE


Bryan Bedder

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 07: 21 Savage attends as Harper’s BAZAAR Celebrates “ICONS By Carine Roitfeld” at the Plaza Hotel on September 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Harper’s Bazaar)

Marissa Johnson, Reporter

Atlanta was filled with celebrities hours before the Super Bowl when news broke that the Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage had been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The agency took him into custody on Sunday with claims that he is an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national.” The rapper, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, now faces deportation.


All across social media, people fumed at the injustice of his arrest. The rapper had, just days before, criticized ice during a sombre performance on “The Tonight Show.” Performing a version of his recent single “A Lot,” the lyrics read, “been through some things but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border, flint still need water, people was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.”


ICE stated that 21 Savage is a British native who legally entered the U.S. in 2005 as a minor and overstayed his visa, which expired in July 2006. His lawyers argue that he has never hidden his immigration status. If he is deported, he could be barred from returning to the U.S. for 10 years.


The ICE official’s statement made it clear that Savage’s arrest was about humiliation more than it was about justice. The sudden imprisonment of 21 Savage is a big deal solely because no one saw it coming. ICE may have just put a celebrity face on a cause that was already worthy of everyone’s attention and concern, reminding us that the issues at the border are also unfolding all around us.