In a statement released today, rapper 21 Savage confirmed that he was born in the United Kingdom, The Blast reports. 21 Savage, born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested on Sunday morning by ICE on the grounds that he is a British citizen who overstayed a 2005 visa making him “unlawfully present” in the United States. A U.K. birth certificate obtained by Reuters states the rapper was born in London on October 22, 1992.
Upon announcing Abraham-Joseph’s arrest, ICE claimed that he came to the United States when he was 12. An ICE spokesperson then used that allegation to state to a CNN reporter that Abraham-Joseph’s “whole public persona is false.” But in their new statement, Abraham-Joseph’s reps claim that he came to the country when he was 7 years old, in 1999, visited the U.K. in 2005, and returned to the U.S. one month later.
“Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph lost his legal status through no fault of his own,” says 21 Savage’s attorney Charles Kuck in the statement. “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 rapper’s attorney also states that 21 Savage applied for a visa in 2017 once he realized the nature of his immigration status. Kuck previously stated that 21 Savage applied for a U-Visa in 2017 that would protect him from deportation while the application was pending. The attorney’s statement continues:
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. 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.
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.
Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not subject to mandatory detention under federal law and is eligible for bond. By statute, bond should be granted by ICE when there is no flight risk or a danger to the community. ICE has the ability to set a bond and conditions of release on cases exactly like this.
ICE routinely grants bond to individuals in Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s circumstances, specifically individuals who have overstayed a prior valid visa and have relief from deportation under federal law. There is no chance that Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a flight risk. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not a “danger” to the community as his acts of philanthropy and good will, as well as his music, continue to improve the communities from which he comes.
Spin reached out to Kuck and asked if he was able to share where Abraham-Joseph is being detained, currently without bond, as well as the date of the rapper’s deportation hearing.
“I will be with my client tomorrow, and we are not currently sharing his location,” Kuck wrote in an email. “He is not yet in removal proceedings.”