21 Savage has confirmed he was born in London following his arrest by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this month.
The rapper, whose given name is Sheyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into custody in Atlanta on February 3. Law enforcement claimed he was in the country illegally after having lived in the US without a valid visa for over a decade.
Savage has since spoken out about the situation, claiming the authorities’ timeline is incorrect, and he actually came to the US earlier than they stated.
According to The Blast, the 26-year-old went on record to say he was born in the UK, but has been in the US since the age of seven. He explained he left to visit the UK in 2005 and returned later the same month, all with a valid US visa.
Immigration claimed 2005 is when Savage first entered the country.
A birth certificate obtained by Reuters from a London registry office showed a boy named Sheyaa Bin Abraham – presumably Savage – was born on October 22, 1992 at Newham Hospital in east London.
The rapper’s statement, which he released through his reps, said his legal status expired in 2006 ‘through no fault of his own’, and explained Savage applied for a visa in 2017 after realising he was in the country without the valid documentation.
According to Pitchfork, the statement goes on to discuss Savage’s ties to the US, saying:
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.
Following his arrest, Congressman Hank Johnson shared a letter he had sent to the immigration judge overseeing Savage’s case, calling for the rapper’s release from detention.
He spends his time giving back to the community and supporting and promoting the betterment of our youth. He has been an outstanding figure and influence within his family and within Atlanta.
Just days before his arrest, the 26-year-old touched on the topic of immigration when he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on January 29.
Performing an alternate version of his new single A Lot, he sang:
Started from the bottom straight from the gutter, so I had to go a lil’ harder
The lights was off, the gas was off, so we had to boil up the water
Been through some things so I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border
Flint still need water
People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.
Jay-Z has showed his support for the rapper, with TMZ reporting he called the arrest ‘an absolute travesty’.
The 99 Problems singer added:
In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately.
Jay’s company Roc Nation has hired an attorney named Alex Spiro to assist with the case, despite the fact Savage isn’t one of their artists.
She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (@21savage) is currently 26 years old, an engaged father of 3 children who were born in the U.S.
U.K. born Abraham-Joseph has been living in the U.S. since the age of 7. pic.twitter.com/FQQOABJ20V
— Roc Nation (@RocNation) February 6, 2019
Speaking to TMZ, Spiro said:
We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge.
What we have here is someone who overstayed their Visa with an application pending for 4 years – not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father, and entertainer who has a marijuana offence which was vacated and sealed.
The decision regarding Savage’s case will be decided by a judge.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.