Rapper 21 Savage was arrested in Atlanta on Sunday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the agency said he was in the country illegally.
ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said the musician, born Shayaabin Abraham-Joseph, was born in the United Kingdom and legally arrived in the U.S. in July 2005 on a nonimmigrant visa but did not leave when it expired a year later.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” ICE said in a statement to CNN. “ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”
The Grammy-nominated rapper, who was convicted in October 2014 on a felony drug charge, was arrested in a targeted sting, according to ICE.
Dina LaPolt, an attorney for 21 Savage, told CNN his representatives are trying to get him released.
“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings,” she said in a statement. “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.”
Social media users were shocked that 21 Savage, who has rapped about being from Atlanta, is originally from the United Kingdom, and shared memes online.
21 Savage is featured on Post Malone’s “Rockstar,” which is nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Rap Performance.
His second album, I Am > I Was, was released in December 2018.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.