Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the rapper, 21 Savage, is a British citizen and has legally entered the US in July 2005 however his visa expired the following year.
The rapper’s lawyer, Charlie Kuck has released an official statement regarding the rapper’s arrest and possible deportation:
“There has been a great deal of misreporting in the case of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known professionally as 21 Savage”
The lawyer has also stated that the rapper already has a pending U visa application with the USCIS. “This U visa was filed as a result of being the victim of a deadly shooting in 2013,” the statement reads. “That visa was filed in 2017 and remains pending. When granted, the U visa will afford him lawful status in the United States. Generally, ICE has recognized a pending facially valid U visa as a basis to delay removal proceedings and release individuals from custody.”
“We are unaware of why ICE apparently targeted Mr. Abraham-Joseph, but we will do everything possible to legally seek his release and pursue his available relief in immigration court.” the statement concludes.
However, according to ICE spokesperson Brian Cox, Savage 21 was arrested during a targeted operation in Metro Atlanta.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon.” The rapper was convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.
Black Lives Matter launched a #Free21Savage petition to stop the young rapper’s deportation process. As of writing, the petition has already gained over 221, 500 signatures from people supporting the campaign.
“The circumstances of Mr. Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph’s detention stand as a testament to the consistent and historically under-reported harassment and targeting of Black immigrants…There are around 4.2 Million Black immigrants in the U.S. – 619,000 are undocumented. ” the description of the petition reads.
Other civil rights groups such as Undocublack, Color of Change, and Define American have also joined in on the cause.