21 Savage’s legal team is speaking out following his arrest and potential deportation.
The rapper, born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Sunday (Feb. 3) for reportedly overstaying his visa. The U.K. native, who remains in federal immigration custody, now faces possible deportation. In a lengthy statement, his lawyers have addressed the “misinformation” and “false conclusions” surrounding his case.
“There has been a great deal of misreporting in the case of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known professionally as 21 Savage,” reads the statement. “Conjecture and misinformation help no one make good decisions and leads to false conclusions.”
The statement, obtained by E! Online, confirms that Savage was born in the United Kingdom and arrived legally in the United States at the age of seven under an H-4 visa. He remained in the country until June 2005, when he departed for approximately one month to visit the United Kingdom. He returned to the U.S. under a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad,” the statement continues. “Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph lost his legal status through no fault of his own.”
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph, like almost two million of his immigrant child peers, was left without immigration status as a young child with no way to fix his immigration status. These ‘Dreamers’ come from all walks of life and every ethnicity,” the statement goes on to say. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph has no criminal convictions or charges under state or federal law and is free to seek relief from removal in immigration court. ICE provided incorrect information to the press when it claimed he had a criminal conviction.”
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has three US Citizen children, a lawful permanent resident mother and four siblings that are either US Citizens or lawful permanent residents,” the lawyers state. “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.”
The statement also says that 21 Savage was placed into deportation proceedings following his arrest and was not in deportation proceedings prior to being detained by ICE. “DHS has known his address since the filing of a U visa application in 2017,” the statement continues. “He has never hidden from DHS or any of its agencies.”
According to his lawyers, Savage is not subject to mandatory detention under federal law and is eligible for bond. “There continues to be no legal reason to detain Mr. Abraham-Joseph for a civil law violation that occurred when he was a minor, especially when people in his exact situation are routinely released by ICE,” reads the statement.
His lawyers also point out the timing of Savage’s arrest, which follows his performance on “The Tonight Show” last month where he changed the lyrics to his hit “a lot” to address immigration. “Been through some things but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border,” rapped Savage. “Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.”
“Many have speculated as to possible ulterior motives for his arrest and detention, including that he released music five days prior to his arrest by ICE, which included new lyrics condemning the behavior of immigration officials for their detention of children at the border,” the statement concludes. “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.”
Earlier today, 21 Savage’s manager, Stone Mound Meezy, gave fans an update on the rapper’s situation. “He is in lockdown for 23hrs of the day no tv or any communication besides our 10 min phone calls,” read the since-deleted tweet. “Everything I’ve told him that has been happening made him happy & makes this time fly by thank y’all for the support.”