Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage has been arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, who said he’s living in the country illegally and is actually from the UK.
The rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the US when he was 12 years old, in July 2005. But, he did not leave the country after his one-year visa expired in 2006.
21 Savage has been held for removal proceedings.
Bryan Cox, ICE southern regional spokesman, said: “Mr Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the US and also a convicted felon.” His arrest has been a part of a “targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners”.
In his past interviews, the rapper has described his childhood living in Atlanta. He was quoted saying that he was expelled from a school in Atlanta for the possession of a gun at the age of 12 or 13.
Recently, 21 Savage was seen performing at the Super Bowl Music Fest at State Farm Arena. He has been nominated for two awards at the upcoming Grammys. In December, he charted as No. 1 at the US Billboard 200 for his second album, I Am > I Was.
An ICE spokesman said, “His whole public persona is false”, as reported by CNN.
According to the ICE statement, the rapper has been held over felony charges in the state of Georgia for staying in the US illegally. He was also convicted of drug charges in October 2014.
The statement stated that ICE would “await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions”.
21 Savage’s attorney Dina LaPolt, told the media said lawyers were “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, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”