You may remember 21 Savage was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in February of this year. A lot of people were shocked to find out that 21 Savage, whose real name is Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was a British national who came to America on a non immigrant visa that expired in 2006.
Since then, 21 has been on a mission to increase social awareness surrounding the United States’ immigration police and children who migrated to the states with their parents, outstaying the visa that they entered the country on. 21 spoke at the National Immigration Law Center ceremony on Thursday to receive an award for his outstanding service towards the issues.
“When you’re a child, you don’t know what’s going on. Now, you grow up and got to figure it out,” Savage explained in his acceptance speech for the award. “Can’t get a job. Can’t get a license. I’m one of the lucky ones who became successful. It’s a lot of people who can’t.”
When Savage was just seven years old, he migrated to the US with his mother from London. According to the Associated Press, Savage applied to get a visa, but it was never approved. The department became aware of 21’s illegal status in 2017. When he was arrested earlier this year, he was detained for 10 days before being released while waiting for a trial date.
Savage maintains that he was never aware of the proper steps necessary to become a legal citizen. He believes that children who are brought here at a young age should be granted citizenship.
“I feel like kids who were brought here at young ages, they should automatically be like ‘Yeah, you good to stay here, work and go to college.’ It should be nipped in the bud before it gets to a point before you come of age,” he said.
As the law is currently written, if a child’s parents are illegal, or even in the US on travel or work visa and the child is born here, the child is granted US Citizenship. However, the parents are not, nor are any children who were not born in the US.