*21 Savage is doing his part to make sure detained immigrants have access to legal counsel.
The rapper has made a $25,000 donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization that assisted his battle against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Complex reports. The donation will assist immigrants who are held in detention centers in the Deep South get legal aid.
“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.”
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— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) June 10, 2019
Willemijn Keizer, the SPLC’s director of institutional giving, confirmed to NBC News that the donation will go toward defending detained immigrants.
“Only one in six immigrants detained in the Southeast has access to an attorney in removal proceedings. For an immigrant in detention, that legal representation can mean the difference between winning or losing their case — between staying with their family or being forced to return to a place that is no longer home,” he said in a statement.
21 was arrested and detained by ICE earlier this year, following a targeted operation in Atlanta. Immigration officials said the rapper—real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph—was born in the United Kingdom and illegally residing in the United States.
The rapper’s team confirmed that Savage and his family entered the U.S. legally when he was a minor and overstayed their work visas. His attorney denied that his client hid his immigration status from the U.S. government and said he applied for a U visa in 2017. As reported by The Huff Post, that visa is reserved for “victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials.”
21 was released on bond less than two weeks after ICE nabbed him.
“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.”