“For the past 9 long days, we, on behalf of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known to the world as 21 Savage, have been speaking with ICE to both clarify his actual legal standing, his eligibility for bond and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society,” Charles H. Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro wrote in a statement on Facebook. “In the last 24 hours, in the wake of the Grammy Awards at which he was scheduled to attend and perform, we received notice that She’yaa was granted an expedited hearing.”
The 26-year-old rapper was granted release on Tuesday. “He won his freedom,” they write. It’s unclear why 21 Savage was in custody for so long.
“21 Savage asked us to send a special message to his fans and supporters — he says that while he wasn’t present at the Grammy Awards, he was there in spirit and is grateful for the support from around the world and is more than ever, ready to be with his loved ones and continue making music that brings people together,” the statement continues. “He will not forget this ordeal or any of the other fathers, sons, family members, and faceless people, he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated across the country. And he asks for your hearts and minds to be with them.”
21 Savage was picked up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Atlanta in a “targeted operation” on Feb. 2. The agency said the rapper is from the United Kingdom and overstayed his one-year visa after coming to America in July 2005. The “Bank Account” rapper has repeatedly stated in interviews he was from Atlanta.
“His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa,” ICE spokesperson Brian Cox told CNN. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon.” (21 Savage was convicted on felony drug charges in 2014.)
A lawyer for the rapper said 21 Savage came to the United States legally at age 7, took a one-month trip to the United Kingdom in 2005 and returned on an H-4 visa. The attorney maintained the government knew about his immigration status as he had a 2017 U-visa application pending approval.
21 Savage’s latest album I Am > I Was spent weeks at No. 1 a the start of the year.
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