21 Savage Arrested By ICE , States That He Is A Citizen of The United Kingdom
by Aisha Buchanan
This post has been updated.
This morning (February 3rd), rapper 21 Savage was arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE states that 21 Savage is actually a citizen of the United Kingdom and has overstayed his visa .
It was believed, 21 Savage, born Sha’Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, legally came to America in July 2005 as a child with his mother from Dominica, which is a British commonwealth. His visa expired a year later.
21 Savage was taken into custody in a “targeted operation,” ICE spokesman Brian Cox said.
21 Savage’s management has declined to comment, but his attorney released a statement to TMZ:
“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in the country — especially in Atlanta, Georgia and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged mothers and youths in financial literacy.”
Update, Monday, February 4th: A new development in the case has unveiled 21 Savage’s birth certificate which reveal both he and his parents who are seperated were born in East London. The document obtained by the DailyMail shows he was born in London on October 22, 1992 at Newham Hospital.
It appears he moved to the US legally with his fellow British-born mother Heather in July 2005 at the age of 12 while his father Kevin Emmons, from Brixton, stayed in the UK and has two twin daughters.
UK authorities have said they are in contact with a lawyer for Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage, who is in federal immigration custody in the US as he is allegedly there illegally.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office confirmed he is British and said: ‘Our staff are in contact with the lawyer of a British man following his detention in the US.’
Critics, including his family in Britain, have claimed his past was not a secret. His sister Jayda tweeted today: ‘Shaayaa moved to America when he was mad young, so he basically is American, he grew up there. I’m bare confused as to how they’re trying to deport him though… He’s been comfortable this whole time. This smells fishy’.
Artists have voiced their support for the rapper since the news broke before the Super Bowl.
Free 21 !— Vince Staples (@vincestaples) February 3, 2019
My sincere hope is to see this young man who has made a way for himself allowed to stay and continue to prosper and grow his legacy. Sincere prayers for him and his family and team. @21savage Should be allowed to remain in this country. pic.twitter.com/8Wp5GJLKHf— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) February 3, 2019
The rapper’s lawyer Charles H. Kuck has released a statement saying ICE is attempting “to intimidate  into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States,” and to “unnecessarily punish him.”
Kuck is very critical of ICE in his statement, adding that 21 Savage poses no threat to his community. “As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost 2 million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own,” he explained. The attorney also stated that the claim 21 is a convicted felon is not true, adding that his conviction was actually expunged in September 2018.
Kuck reiterates 21 could be eligible to remain in the US, explaining that in 2017 he applied for a U-Visa and its status is still pending. The visa he applied for is due to him being a victim of a crime in 2013, where he was shot and his closest friend was murdered. Kuck has said that the incident left 21 “severely affected physically and mentally.” Since he was a victim of crime while present in the States, it could grant 21 the possibility of permanant residency.
Update: Tuesday, February 5th:
Official Statement on behalf of 21 Savage:
“ICE can only continue to detain individuals who are a threat the community or a flight risk to not show up at their hearings. Obviously, our client is not a flight risk, as he is widely recognizable, and a prominent member of the music industry. Likewise, Mr. Abraham-Joseph is clearly not a danger to the community, and in fact, his contributions to local communities and schools that he grew up in are examples of the type of immigrant we want in America.”
This article will update as the story develops.