Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson Writes to Judge Commending 21 Savage as ‘Remarkable Young Man’

Georgia's Rep. Hank Johnson highlighted the rapper's community involvement and charitable work.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson is vouching for 21 Savage. The representative for Georgia's 4th Congressional District has penned a character letter in support of the 26-year-old rapper born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, arrested Sunday in Atlanta by Immigration Customs and Enforcement. Hank writes that although 21 was not born within the states, he has used his status and resources to give back to the communities he has called home for so many years. The politician argues Savage, whom he has gotten to know through charity work, is an asset to the city of Atlanta, particulary its youth. 

"He was raised and spent his formative years in and around Atlanta, and he has developed deep family roots and personal ties to our wonderful state of Georgia, and to Gwinnett and DeKalb counties in particular," Hank wrote to the immigration judge. He went on to say, "I know [21] to be a remarkable young man. He spends his time giving back to our community and has been living a life of paying it forward. I believe that it would be a serious hardship to [21's] family and a loss for our community, if he is not allowed bail so that he can be released from detention. ... He has been an outstanding figure and influence within his family and within Atlanta."

Here’s the letter Rep. Johnson wrote to ICE on behalf of @21Savage:

— Jewel Wicker (@jewelwickershow) February 5, 2019

21 has remained in ICE custody since his arrest over the weekend. The law enforcement agency claims the artist entered the U.S. as a child legally in July 2005, but failed to leave the country after his non-immigrant visa expired the following year. ICE agents also pointed to his 2014 drug charges, which were later expunged.

"Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts," ICE said in a statement to CNN. "ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions."

Following 21's arrest, many fans and fellow artists have come forward to express their support. People like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B have defended the i am > i was rapper against those have either mocked or applauded his detainment and possible deportation. Kendrick Lamar has also called on law enforcement to leave 21 alone so that he can be there for his family, and J. Cole spoke out on Tuesday.

Praying for 21 savage let that man be with and provide for his kids.

— J. Cole (@JColeNC) February 5, 2019

21's attorney Deron Smallcomb told Complex that his client is eligible to apply for permanent residence in the United States, given that he is "a top entertainer, and an internationally recognized talent."


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