21 Savage faces deportation after being arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta on Sunday (Feb. 3).
ICE claims the 26-year-old rapper is actually an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who came to the U.S. on a visa in July 2005. His visa expired a year later and he has been living illegally ever since.
Now the Daily Mail has uncovered the rapper’s birth certificate, proving that he was born to British parents in London. He lived there for 12 years until being taken to Atlanta by his mother.
His U.K. birth certificate shows he was born Shéyaa bin Abraham on October 22, 1992 at Newham Hospital, in east London, and his parents, Heather Joseph and Kevin Emmons, are also British.
Savage also has twin sisters in London, dance choreographers Kyra and Jayda, the latter who tweeted support for her brother. “But Shaayaa moved to America when he was mad young, so he basically is American, he grew up there,” wrote Jayda. “I’m bare confused as to how they’re trying to deport him though… He’s been comfortable this whole time, even when he was gangbanging and shit. This smells fishy.”
Last year, Savage’s mother was interviewed at a back-to-school event in London where her son was handing out free books, shoes, and clothes. “It’s every mother’s dream to see their son grow up to be such a thoughtful, loving boy,” she said in a British accent. “It’s great that he is helping so many people because we were there once ourselves.”
Police claim the rapper has been in the U.S. “unlawfully” since 2006 and reportedly made $8 million from his hit songs and toured the world. He was convicted of drug charges in 2014.
“His whole public persona is false,” said ICE spokesman Bryan Cox. “He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa.”
While his arrest has inspired many memes on social media, his friends including Cardi B, Wale, Meek Mill, and Offset are not laughing. The Migos rapper defended his “Ric Flair Drip” collaborator, writing, “AINT SHIT FUNNY HIS FANILY DEPENDING ON HIM.”