On Sunday, February 3, it was reported that rapper 21 Savage had been detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
He is currently being held under allegations that he is a British national who entered the US legally in 2005, but has overstayed and violated the terms of a non-immigrant visa, which expired in July 2006.
It is alleged, therefore, that the 26-year-old rapper has been ‘unlawfully present’ in the US since he was 14.
After his arrest, federal agents told journalists, via WSBTV:
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA ’21 Savage’ during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday 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.
Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the US legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his non-immigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the US when his visa expired in July 2006. In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.
Now, the Grammy-nominated rapper’s manager has shared a brief statement about 21 Savage’s current situation.
In a now-deleted tweet, he wrote:
Just got off phone wit Savage … he is in lockdown for 23hrs of the day no tv or any communication besides our 10 min phone calls … everything I’ve told him that has been happening made him happy & makes this time fly by thank y’all for the support
It is currently unclear what will happen next for 21 Savage, though his attorneys are hopeful that his fame will help with his eligibility for a green card or another type of visa.
Attorney Deron Smallcomb told Complex:
As a top entertainer, and an internationally recognized talent, 21 Savage would be eligible to apply for permanent residence in the United States, also known as a green card. Potentially, if he can close removal proceedings, he could pursue this option to live in the United States, and ultimately seek citizenship.
While Michael Wildes, a former federal prosecutor and one of the lawyers involved in the rapper’s case, said:
It is safe to say that 21 Savage serves as an exceptional role model for his many fans and should be given a fair shake when it comes to his immigration matters. We expect this to be settled but cannot provide any additional comment at this time without further authorization from his team.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.