Atlanta-based artist and beloved father of three children, She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, also known as 21 Savage, has been arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE).1 She’yaa is currently caged in a detention center outside of Atlanta, Georgia. We have to move quickly. He can be deported at any moment.
It’s no secret that the Trump administration has significantly ramped up its efforts to target, arrest and deport Black immigrants. For the last two years, Black immigrants have been especially vulnerable — from the Mulsim ban to the cancellation of the decades-old Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for immigrants from Guinea, Sudan, Haiti, Sierre Leon, and Liberia.2 Black immigrants are often caught at the very center of immigrant detention and deportation. The arrest of She’yaa drives home the personal cost of racist immigration policy on Black people.
Now a powerful coalition of Black-led organizations including Black Lives Matter, UndocuBlack Network and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, are coming together to help end the attack on Black immigrants.
We are asking that you join us. If we can secure the release of She’yaa then we can put a cog in Trump’s deportation machine, and shine a light on the insidious ways criminalizing immigrants affect Black people.
As a young child, She’yaa’s family came to the United States looking for better opportunities. Like many immigrant families, She’yaa’s family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status. Fast forward years later, on February 4, She’yaa was apprehended by ICE agents based on completely false information. In fact, Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been petitioning the U.S government to adjust his immigration status through a U-visa application for over two years.3 She’yaa has never tried to hide his immigration status from federal agents or misrepresent his citizenship status. This recent arrest is another attempt by ICE to weave a false narrative that Black immigrants are inherently criminal and unworthy of basic respect.
ICE is a rogue agency known for its dirty tactics. There have been several examples of ICE agents falsifying information,4 wrongfully arresting individuals,5 and entrapping people by posing as family members and other trusted members of the community.6Just a few months ago, Sean Peter Brown, a Black man born in the U.S., was nearly deported to Jamaica.7 She’yaa’s case is another example in a long history of federal officials using immigration enforcement to fulfill their anti-Black and anti-immigrant agenda.
Unfortunately, She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph’s circumstances aren’t unique to him alone. Black immigrants are often harassed by both law enforcement and ICE agents, face compounded criminal charges, and experience discriminatory sentencing, all of which increases their chances of being detained and deported. Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino and African immigrants experience higher levels of deportations as a result of contact with police than any other group. Trump’s attack on Black communities knows no bounds and will continue unless we stop it.
Immigration is a Black issue. She’yaa’s detention is a testament to this reality. She’yaa has been in the United States since he was a young child. Atlanta is his home. He has no current or prior criminal convictions and he is beloved by his friends, fans, and family. It is shameful that he and so many Black immigrants are separated from their families on a daily basis as part of the U.S.’s heartless and racist immigration policies.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Black Lives Matter
- “Rapper 21 Savage Arrested By ICE For Allegedly Overstaying Visa.” NPR, 4 February 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121162?t=11&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL
- “Temporary Protected Status Recipients and Their Families Are Suing the Government.” Teen Vogue, 11 March 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121163?t=13&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL
- Kuck Baxter Immigration, 4 February 2019. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121164?t=15&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL
- “ICE agents lied about how they arrested a domestic violence victim” ThinkProgress, 17 February 2017. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121165?t=17&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL
- “ICE caught lying — again — about their tactics and immigration raids in Austin.” Grassroots Leadership, 26 October 2017. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121166?t=19&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL
- “ICE Agents Reportedly Posed as Good Samaritans Returning Lost Wallet to Make Arrest.” Splinter News, 9 October 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121167?t=21&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL
- “Born in Philadelphia, U.S. citizen says he was held for deportation to Jamaica at ICE’s request.” The Washington Post, 4 December 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/121168?t=23&akid=23106%2E1413709%2E56ffuL