Less than two weeks after his arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and just days after being released on bond, Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America about his ordeal and immigration policy in the U.S.
“I don’t think the policy is broken, I feel like the way they enforce the policy is broken,” the rapper explained. “I’ve been here…19 years, this is all I know. I don’t feel like you should be arrested and put in a place where a murderer would be, for just being in the country too long.”
Savage, whose full name is She’yaa bin Abraham-Joseph, is a British citizen. He was arrested on Feb. 3 for reportedly overstaying a 2005 visa.
“I didn’t even know what a visa was,” Savage explained. “I was 7 when I first came here. I knew I wasn’t born here, but I didn’t know what that meant as far as when I transitioned into an adult, how it was going to affect my life.”
At the time of his arrest, Savage explained to ABC that “I was just driving, and I [saw] guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car and I was gone.”
While the police allegedly didn’t tell Savage why he was being arrested, the rapper said “it was definitely targeted.”
Savage’s attorneys reportedly believe the rapper was singled out as a result of a music video he released for his song “A Lot,” which includes the line “I couldn’t imagine my kids stuck at the border.”
The rapper’s lawyer Alex Spiro separately told ABC that Savage was targeted “because he’s a celebrity, and they can use this as a way to send a message, and also, perhaps, because of his music.”
While Savage said he is worried about getting deported, he said he’s “been through so much in my life, I’ve learned to embrace the times when I’m down ‘cause they always build me up and take me to a new level in life.”
But he realizes that not everyone who has been detained is afforded the same opportunities he has. For those people, Savage said, “I feel your pain. [I’m going to] do everything in my power to try and bring awareness to your pain.”