ICE needs to chill

21 Savage’s arrest sheds new light on US immigration

Denaya Lewis, Opinion Writer

At the beginning of February 2019, 21 Savage was detained by ICE agents in Atlanta, Georgia. This took the internet by storm with memes being shared for over 2 weeks. Just two days before his arrest, he released the music video for his song “a lot,” in which he criticizes ICE’s practice of detaining children at the border. While most took this as a joke, we can’t ignore the fact that ICE has been detaining immigrants since 2003. ICE has been tearing apart families and leaving kids parentless and in cages.

I believe that ICE is trying to make an example of 21 Savage. They are trying to send the message that no matter how successful you are, no one is safe from their reach. The arrest of 21 Savage is a scare tactic for the rest of the country. ICE wants to remind the nation that no one is untouchable, not even a Grammy nominated millionaire.

His story of being American, in every way except for the paperwork, is the same as countless people being detained and sent to countries they know little about. Many people detained by ICE are hardworking immigrants who came to America in hope of a better life. Too many of them are ripped from their families and lives that they have built here in the “land of opportunity.”

An ICE spokesman has reportedly said that 21 Savage’s “whole public persona is false.” Through such claims, ICE has tried to diminish 21 Savage’s career because of his immigration status and by implying that his experiences as a black man in America, chronicled by much of his music, are invalidated because of his birthplace.

ICE detains immigrant children who are separated from their parents for an average of 100 to 240 days, according to the National Immigrant Justice Center. Many of these children are detained for the same reason as 21 Savage, an overstayed visa with the average bail being set at 10,000 dollars.

As a fan, I’m happy to hear that 21 Savage is no longer in custody, but we must never forget that thousands of others remain there.

The inhumane treatment of those who came to America for a better life must stop. 21 Savage has matured greatly since his days of running with gangs and selling drugs. He’s a changed man who puts his resources and time toward helping others. He recently started a program to promote financial literacy among teens and vowed to set an example by saving money instead of spending it on expensive jewelry. Since being released from custody, the rapper has continued to make amends by turning himself in on Feb. 15 for an outstanding warrant from 2016 concerning a gig at which he didn’t perform, even though he was paid.