Rapper 21 Savage faces possible deportation after being arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials Sunday morning, an ICE spokesman told The Times.
The 26-year-old, who has long claimed Atlanta as his hometown, was arrested in the city after allegedly overstaying a visa that expired in July 2006. According to ICE, Savage, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, actually hails from the United Kingdom.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon,” said ICE spokesman Bryan Cox. “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, Ga.”
Just this past Thursday, Savage joined local Atlanta rappers T.I., Migos, Lil Yachty and Ludacris onstage at a Super Bowl Music Fest concert.
After being taken into custody during a “targeted operation,” Savage has been placed into “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts.”
“ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions,” Cox reported.
In a statement to The Times, the rapper’s lawyer, Dina LaPolt, said: “We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Ga., and is actively working in the community — leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”
The news shocked fans on Twitter, including fellow rapper Vince Staples, who tweeted in support of Savage.
Free 21 !— Vince Staples (@vincestaples) February 3, 2019
Last week, 21 Savage spoke out against President Trump’s immigration policy and the Flint, Mich., water crisis during a performance on the “Tonight Show.” And with the high-profile spectacle of the Super Bowl providing coverage, many on Twitter are speculating that the arrest is part of a larger ICE operation.
This 21 savage situation is so wild for so many reason especially the timing tho— Desus Nice (@desusnice) February 3, 2019
The timing is just real interesting given his recent speaking out and community work, and we all know ICE has a political agenda. Why now? I’m not even a 21 Savage fan or anything, this is more about not trusting ICE.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) February 3, 2019
Houseless folks arrested by APD to clean the streets.— Charles Preston (@_CharlesPreston) February 3, 2019
ICE arresting immigrants, and apparently 21 Savage.
The deaths of two Black men at the hands of APD being ignored by the mayor until the end of the Super Bowl.
Stings being set up to catch sex workers.
They are CLEARLY trying to catch undocumented immigrants in Atlanta who are out/working during Super Bowl weekend. I'm willing to bet this "operation" is way bigger than 21 Savage.— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) February 3, 2019
I am curious as to why 21 Savage is being arrested now by ICE. Wasn’t he arrested for something a few years ago? The timing of this is 🤔— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 3, 2019
The timing of this 21 Savage story is wild. Feels like they’re banking on us forgetting about all of this by kickoff tonight.— love yo self. ✨ (@MichellCClark) February 3, 2019
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