21 Savage was born in London and moved to America when he was seven years old but his visa ran out in 2006.
The ‘No Heart’ rapper – whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph – was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Georgia on Sunday (03.02.19) and his legal team have now clarified some facts about his position as “conjecture and misinformation” has lead to “false conclusions”.
They explained how Savage was born in the UK and arrived legally in the US under an H-4 visa, where he stayed until 2005, when he left for around a month to visit his country of birth, before returning, again under a valid H-4 visa, in July 2005.
However, that expired the following year “through no fault” of the rapper.
The statement continued: “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, 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.
“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.”
The lawyers went on to stress the 26-year-old star has “exceptionally strong ties” to the US and should be able to successfully fight deportation.
The statement continued: “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.
“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.”
According to the statement, Savage was placed into deportation proceedings after his arrest, and he has had a U visa application pending since 2013.
It read: “This U visa was filed as a result of being the victim of a deadly shooting in 2013. That visa was filed in 2017 and remains pending. When granted, the U visa will afford him lawful status in the United States. Generally, ICE has recognised a pending facially valid U visa as a basis to delay removal proceedings and release individuals from custody.”
The legal team insisted their client should be granted bond “by statute” as there is no reason to detain him, hinting he had been targeted because of his politically-charged lyrics.
They said: “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. 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 behaviour of immigration officials for their detention of children at the border.
“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.”