Running into trouble

Rapper 21 Savage faces deportation by ICE

By on February 19, 2019

Fans were shocked earlier this month when news broke of 21 Savage’s arrest by ICE broke. The 26-year-old rapper claimed he was from Atlanta, Georgia, where many other successful rappers are bred. However, it was revealed on  Feb. 3 that 21 Savage is actually from the United Kingdom and his real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested the rapper for being “an unlawfully present United Kingdom citizen.”

Photo courtesy of Epic Records Press Room
21 Savage was released on $100,000 bond after nine days of detainment. The rapper broke his silence about the ordeal to ABC News on Friday and said he was driving the morning of the 2019 Superbowl when he was pulled over, according to E! News.

“I was just driving and I see guns and blue lights,” 21 Savage said. “And then I was in the back of a car and I was gone.”

When ABC News reporter, Linsey Davis, asked 21 Savage if police told him he was under arrest, he explained how vague the interaction was.

“They just said ‘We got Savage.’”

21 Savage felt as though he was targeted by ICE according to The Grapevine. Five days prior, 21 Savage performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

“Been through some things, but I couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border,” he rapped.

The rapper and his legal team believe this performance directly sparked the arrest, according to The Grapevine. 21 Savage’s attorney, Alex Spiro, also spoke with ABC News.

“Part of the reason is because he’s both a celebrity and they can use this as a way to send a message and also, perhaps, because of his music,” said Spiro on Friday.

The next step for 21 Savage is to obtain his U.S. citizenship if he does not want to face deportation.

The legal trouble has not stopped there. On Saturday, 21 Savage turned himself in for felony theft by deception warrant. The charge was from a 2016 concert appearance that 21 Savage never showed up for, according to TMZ. The promoter paid $17,000 to 21 Savage in which was never returned. An arrest warrant was then filed to obtain the money back.

Many people feel as though 21 Savage has gained so much attention while ordinary people are facing the same issues every day.

“It could be anybody — your classmate, your teacher, your girlfriend,” Daniela Gaona, a student from John Hopkins University whose mother was deported earlier this year, said to Complex. “You truly never know who [these laws are] affecting.”

Nelson Pinos, a New Haven man, is one of those people. The Ecuador native has been in the U.S. for over 26 years.

Pinos had a court case for his citizenship years ago. His lawyers claim he did not know about it, therefore he did not show up. The court has refused to re-open his case as he missed the first. The verdict for Pinos is uncertain.

While he awaits the appeals, his legal team has put forward, Pinos has taken sanctuary in First and Summerfield Methodist church for over a year. ICE considers churches, schools and hospitals sensitive sights. ICE officials typically do not enter and obtain an individual in them.

“That is just kind of a loose policy,” said Reverand Vicki Flippin. “It’s not a law. I think at any point ICE could come into a church and legally walk in. Just depending on their hierarchy and what the bureaucracy says that day.”

Pinos has not left the walls of the church since he entered them. He has two teenage daughters and a young son who visit him daily.

As the case with many others, Pinos has a clean record and is an active member in the community.

“He’s an irreplaceable member of our community here in New Haven,” said Reverand Flippin. “I don’t know, If you were trying to pick who was gonna join your country and live in your nation and live in your neighborhood, it would be someone like Nelson. It doesn’t make any sense to me that our government is trying to take him away from his community and his family.”

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