By Emily DiAlbert, Copy Editor
[Photo courtesy of 21 Savage/Epic Records]
Atlanta rapper 21 Savage was arrested early this morning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which claims he is a British citizen that has been living in the United States on an expired visa since 2006, according to a statement released by the federal agency.
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21 Savage, whose personal name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested as a part of a “targeted operation” between the feds and local law enforcement, ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said in a statement. As of 5:30 p.m., 21 Savage’s lawyer, Dina LaPolt, says she is actively working “to clear up any misunderstandings” and get him released from federal immigration detention, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The arrest has sparked quite the social media controversy, leaving several people to question the validity of ICE’s arrest. In a 2016 XXL interview, 21 Savage said that he was born in Decatur, Georgia, but further investigation regarding his birthplace is needed.
One Twitter user, @beatsbykana, questioned why ICE didn’t arrest the rapper on illegal immigration charges back in 2014 when he was convicted on a felony drug charge. Another Twitter user, @YasminYonis, wrote that she “wouldn’t rush to believe what [ICE] are saying” about 21 Savage because the agency has made false arrests before.
In September of 2018, The Los Angeles Times revealed that since 2012, ICE has released 1,480 people from custody after investigating their citizenship further, meaning that at least that many American citizens have been falsely arrested by the agency before.
21 Savage rose to fame after the release of his 2016 debut album, The Slaughter Tape, and is nominated for two awards at the Grammys next Sunday. According to his lawyer, the rapper is a role model for the American youth and is actively working in Atlanta to help underprivileged kids with financial literacy.
Listen to 21 Savage’s latest single, “A Lot”, below: