In a statement, an ICE spokesperson claimed that 21 (real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) is a “United Kingdom national” who “is unlawfully present in the U.S.”
On Sunday, Rapper 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A spokesperson for ICE alleges that 21 Savage (real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) came in the U.S legally in July 2005 as a minor. His visa expired in 2006 and has been ‘unlawfully present in the U.S’. A copy of his birth certificate obtained from the London registry office states that the rapper was born in the London borough of Newham.
The rapper’s lawyers confirmed that his family overstayed their work visas. His attorney Charles Kuck said that he had never hidden his immigration status from the U.S. government and that he had applied for a visa in 2017 when he realised he needed one. If ICE decides to deport him, the artist could face a 10-year ban on returning to the United States.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has three U.S. Citizen children, a lawful permanent resident mother and four siblings that are either US Citizens or lawful permanent residents. He has exceptionally strong ties in the United States, having lived here since he was in the first grade. Because of his length of residence in the United States and his immediate relatives, Mr. Abraham-Joseph is eligible to seek Cancellation of Removal from an Immigration Judge”.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was placed into deportation proceedings AFTER his arrest, he was not in deportation proceedings prior to this detention by ICE. DHS has known his address since the filing of a U visa application in 2017. He has never hidden from DHS or any of its agencies. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not subject to mandatory detention under federal law and is eligible for bond. By statute, bond should be granted by ICE when there is no flight risk or a danger to the community… 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”.
Many celebrities including Cardi B, Wale, Vince Staple reacted to the news and showed support. Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson has written a letter in support of his case and calls the rapper “a remarkable young man” who has made a significant and positive difference in Atlanta’s Gwinnett and DeKalb counties. “He spends his time giving back to the community and supporting and promoting the betterment of our youth,” Johnson writes. “He has been an outstanding figure and influence within his family and within Atlanta.” Black Lives Matter intervened in the artist’s case. They started #Free21Savage, a petition. It has reached over 214, 000 signatures. For now, 21 Savage remains in custody.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) February 4, 2019