Posted: February 12, 2019
The artist, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, has been held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since February 3. ICE officials said Savage is a United Kingdom national was has been living in the country illegally since 2016.
“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,” Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC said.
“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. Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom.”
The firm thanked the rapper’s fans on his behalf.
“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 rapper received support from many of his peers and colleagues in rap. Jay-Z said his arrest was “an absolute travesty.” Meek Mill, Cardi B, Offset and Killer Mike also spoken out about his detainment.
UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EST Feb. 4: In a new statement released to WSB and other media outlets, attorneys for 21 Savage said the rapper “never hid his immigration status” and applied for a U-Visa two years ago.
“The Department of Homeland Security has known his address and his history since his filing for the U-Visa in 2017, yet they took no action against him until this past weekend,” lawyers Charles Kuck and Holly Baird said in a statement on behalf of their client. “ICE can only continue to detain individuals who are a threat the community or a flight risk to not show up at their hearings.”
“As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own,” the statement said. “This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States.”
The lawyers argue the rapper, whose given name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the community.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan D. Cox said the rapper was detained during a “targeted operation” Sunday in DeKalb County. The agency had been working to apprehend him for “weeks or months” because he's been in removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts, according to Cox.
Abraham-Joseph remained in immigration custody Monday; it’s up to a federal judge to decide if he's eligible for bail. His attorneys said he’s been denied bond and he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings,” Dina LaPolt, the rapper’s lawyer, told The Post in a statement. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community — leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”
His via application is filed under code that allows crime victims to seek legal status. The lawyers didn’t say what crime he was a victim of, but the rapper has long said he was shot six times in 2013.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested rapper 21 Savage early Sunday morning, claiming that he is actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.
21 Savage, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into custody in a “targeted operation,” ICE spokesman Brian Cox said.
Abraham-Joseph, 26, has said he’s from Atlanta and has long been considered a local act. In August, he gave free school supplies to more than 2,500 DeKalb County school students.
Cox issued the following statement detailing the reason for Abraham-Joseph’s arrest:“U.S. 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 U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. 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. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and 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.”
A representative for the rapper has not commented on the arrest.
Jay-Z is helping out 21 Savage as he remains detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying his visa. According to ICE, the rapper is a convinced felon and illegally stayed when his visa expired in 2006.
In a statement to Billboard through his representative, Jay-Z voiced support for the 26-year-old.
“The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U-visa petition has been pending for 4 years,” the statement said. “In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately, #Free21Savage.”
Savage, whose birth name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested Feb. 3 in a “targeted operation” meant to arrest another rapper, Young Nudy, who faces aggravated assault and gang charges.
Charles Kuck, an attorney for Abraham-Joseph, said his client does not have a conviction, despite ICE’s claim that he is a convicted felon.
“There is no conviction on his record,” Kuck told Billboard. “Period.”
A statement from ICE released the day of Abraham-Joseph’s arrest said he was convicted on felony drug charges in 2014 in Georgia. But that’s been disputed by Jacoby Hudson, the lawyer who worked with Abraham-Joseph to get his record expunged.
“He’s not a convicted felon, so they reported that wrong from their 2014 arrest,” Hudson told Complex. “That arrest should be expunged. He has no felony convictions.”
Attorneys for the rapper released another statement Tuesday that said in part:
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was born in the United Kingdom. Mr. Abraham-Joseph arrived legally in the United States at the age of 7. He remained in the United States until 2005, when he departed for approximately one month to visit the United Kingdom. He returned to the United States 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. Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph's legal status expired through no fault of his own. ...
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was placed into deportation proceedings AFTER his arrest, he was not in deportation proceedings prior to this detention by ICE. DHS has known his address since the filing of a U visa application in 2017. He has never hidden from DHS or any of its agencies.”
Jay-Z isn’t the only person to voice public support for Abraham-Joseph. Meek Mill, Cardi B, Offset, Killer Mike and others have spoken out.
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