Rapper 21 Savage has donated $25,000 to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that helped him when he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this year.
The Grammy-nominated artist, whose real name is Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into custody in DeKalb County Feb. 3 on charges that he is from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa. He has long been considered a local act and called DeKalb his home.
His attorney Charles Kuck said in a statement that Abraham-Joseph is making the SPLC 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.”
After the rapper was arrested, the SPLC was one of several national organizations that called for his release. He was freed from a federal immigration detention center in Irwin County and granted bond 10 days after his arrest.
“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,” said Kuck, a managing partner at the Atlanta-based firm Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC.
Kuck said the SPLC helps immigrants get access to legal representation through the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, and that the $25,000 donation will aid these efforts. The SPLC is based in Montgomery and has offices in Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans and Jackson, Miss.
Locally, 21 Savage has been known for his charitable back-to-school events, which provide thousands of DeKalb students with free school supplies. He has also visited schools in DeKalb to talk to children about financial literacy and money management.
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