While the details surrounding the arrest of 21 Savage on February 3 by ICE officials in Atlanta are still scant, more information on the events of his detainment has emerged. According to a federal law enforcement source who spoke to CBS News, Savage’s arrest took place at the same time as an unrelated operation targeting Young Nudy, another rapper who is also Savage’s cousin, and two other men. The four men were pulled over in a vehicle and were subsequently arrested.
Nudy was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and participation in criminal gang activity, according to records viewed by Pitchfork.
To recap, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said 21, real name Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was apprehended in a “targeted operation” as he is in fact an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national.” They stipulate that 21 entered the US in 2005 at the age of 12, and has remained illegally since it expired in 2006. In previous interviews, 21 Savage has indicated his mother is from Dominica, a former territory of the British Commonwealth, but it is unclear at this time which nationality ICE is indicating. He is currently being held in Georgia awaiting “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts.”
21 Savage’s attorney, Dina LePolt, told TMZ that “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 youths in financial literacy.”
Following the initial comment, additional counsel for 21 Savage, attorney Charles H. Kuck, issued this statement:
“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. As a minor, [Savage]’s family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own. 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.”
According to TMZ, 21 Savage’s only conviction is a federal drug charge from 2014 that was expunged last year. Kuck believes this may have led to the arrest on Sunday.
“[I.C.E.’s arrest of Savage is] based upon incorrect information about prior criminal charges,” he said, before adding, “We and he will fight for his release, for his family, and his right to remain in our country. No one would expect less from him.”
Dream Activist, a political organization that develops campaigns to block the deportation of undocumented immigrants, has created a petition in hopes of stopping 21 Savage’s deportation.
“21 Savage is not a danger to the community nor is he a flight risk and we hold that his detention was a clear retaliation to the statements he made about ICE’s handling of the refugee crisis at the southern border during his performance on The Tonight Show,” says Dream Activist. “These comments were accompanied by commentary on the Flint water crisis, furthering our belief he’s being targeted for being outspoken.”
The organization then goes on to point out that 21 entered the United States legally more than a decade ago, therefore, he should be considered the lowest priority for enforcement. They also reference Justin Bieber, an immigrant who was arrested for DUI, drag racing, resisting arrest and multiple other charges in 2014, as he was released without being detained by ICE.
With a goal of 10,000 signatures, all to be sent to the White House, you can sign Dream Activist’s petition to stop the deportation of 21 Savage here.