Rapper 21 Savage has become a symbol of harsh immigration laws after he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Atlanta on Feb. 3. The 26-year-old is now speaking out for the first time since the arrest to “Good Morning America.”
While talking to ABC News’ Linsey Davis, the rapper, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, explained the arrest, “I was just driving. And I just seen guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone.” He also said they never told him he was under arrest, “They didn’t say nothing. They just said, ‘We got Savage.'” He added, “It was definitely targeted. There was helicopters.”
ICE claimed that 21 Savage is a United Kingdom citizen who entered the U.S. legally in July 2005 as a minor. However, he failed to leave the U.S. under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa. Consequently, ICE said his presence in the U.S. has been unlawful since his visa expired in July 2006.
When asked if he considers himself to be a Dreamer — a young, undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child and met the requirements to participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — he replied, “I guess so… I went into first grade here, so I don’t really remember too much. I remember, like, my grandma house, and that’s probably about it. I didn’t really do much there. I’ve been Atlanta probably 20 years, 19 years. I’m from Atlanta, in my eyes.”
Savage also described the detention center he was held in, claiming he was in one room all day.
“I feel like I done been through so much in my life, like, I learned to embrace the times when I’m down ’cause they always build me up and take me to a new level in life,” he said. “So it’s like even if I’m sitting in a cell on 23-hour lockdown, in my mind, I know what’s gonna come after that. So I’m not happy about it. But I’m accepting of it.”
He was released on Wednesday after more than a week in detention.
“21 Savage was granted a release on bond,” Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC posted to its social media channels. “He won his freedom.” The rapper is reportedly working with, “ICE to both clarify his actual legal standing,” according to his lawyer. However, it is not definite if Savage will be allowed to stay in the country.