ICE arrests rapper 21 Savage, says he overstayed his visa

21 Savage has been placed in deportation proceedings in federal immigration court, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said.
Image: 21 Savage performs in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 14, 2018.
21 Savage performs in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 14, 2018.Erika Goldring / WireImage file

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By Janelle Griffith

Rapper 21 Savage was arrested early Sunday morning in metro Atlanta by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said he is from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa.

The rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into custody in a “targeted operation,” ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said in a statement.

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Abraham-Joseph, 26, has a felony conviction, Cox said, adding that deportation proceedings against the rapper will begin in federal immigration court.

The artist was an "unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who entered the U.S. legally in 2005 on a visa that expired a year later, and he was convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia, Cox said.

His attorney, Dina LaPolt, said in a statement Sunday that she is working to get him released and "to clear up any misunderstandings."

"Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community — leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy," LaPolt said.

Abraham-Joseph said in a 2016 interview with hip-hop magazine XXL that he is from Decatur, Georgia. He performed in Atlanta as recently as Thursday in the Super Bowl Music Fest at State Farm Arena.

Rapper Meek Mill, who was was sentenced in November 2017 to two to four years in prison for a probation violation stemming from a 2008 conviction on drug and firearm charges, on Sunday tweeted: "Free 21."

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rahmeek Williams, was released on bail from a state prison in Pennsylvania last April.