After spending nine days at the Irwin County Detention Center in southern Georgia, 21 Savage was finally released on bond. On Wednesday, February 13, TMZ published a photo of 21 Savage and his mother boarding a private jet headed back to his home of Atlanta.
In a statement announcing Roc Nation’s joining 21 Savage’s legal fight, JAY-Z referred to the rapper’s detainment as an “absolute travesty.” Alex Spiro, a recent addition to 21’s legal team, said of the photo, “That’s how we take people home when they win.”
Charles Kuck Dina Laporte and Alex Spiro of Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC have issued an official statement about the situation 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,” they wrote. “Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom.”
Last week, the rapper’s legal team issued an official statement in conjunction with his arrest by ICE officials on February 3. Following the statement regarding his detainment, JAY-Z posted a response on his Facebook about how the whole situation is an “absolute travesty.” According to TMZ, Roc Nation has also hired attorney Alex Spiro to support Savage with his case.
“We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge,” he told TMZ. “What we have here is someone who overstayed their Visa with an application pending for 4 years-not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father, and entertainer who has a marijuana offense which was vacated and sealed.”
In 21 Savage’s original statement to the public, he confirmed that he was born in the U.K. in 1992, as was revealed in a document appearing to be a birth certificate yesterday. However, he refutes some of ICE’s other claims.
ICE alleged that Savage arrived in the US in 2005 at the age of 12 on a one year visa that was never renewed, while Savage explained that he first arrived in the United States at the age of 7 under an H-4 visa. He then remained in the US until June 2005, departing for approximately one month to visit the UK, returning to the US with a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005.
According to the statement, since July 2005, Savage has been “continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad.” In 2006, he lost his legal status “through no fault of his own.” When he discovered he had been in the US illegally, he applied for a U visa in 2017.
The statement goes on to refute claims made by ICE:
“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.”
Many have speculated that 21 Savage may have been targeted by ICE in relation to his appearance last week on The Tonight Show. He performed “A Lot” from his new album I Am > I Was, with lyrics criticizing border control. “Been through some things so I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border. Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.” Read the full statement here and watch his performance below.
Since his arrest, countless members of the rap community and beyond voiced their support for 21 Savage and political organization Dream Activist started a petition to stop his deportation. US House representative Hank Johnson of Georgia’s 4th district has written a letter to the judge overseeing Savage’s deportation proceedings, underlining the rapper’s charitable efforts in the city of Atlanta.
“He spends his time giving back to our community and has been living a life of paying it forward,” Johnson wrote. “I believe that it would be a serious hardship to [Savage’s] family and a loss for our community, if he is not allowed bail so that he can be released from detention.” Read the full letter below.