By Daniel Kreps, rollingstone.com
21 Savage was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Atlanta Sunday, with the agency claiming that the rapper is actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa after coming to America as a teenager.
The ICE claim that the 26-year-old Abraham-Joseph is a United Kingdom national and that came to the U.S. as a teenager on a one-year visa in July 2005. 21 Savage has long stated he is from Atlanta, often discussing his rough childhood in interviews.
In a 2016 interview with the Fader, 21 Savage claimed to have brought a gun to an Atlanta middle school when he was 12. “I probably broke the record for the youngest nigga to bring a gun to that school,” he told the magazine.
“His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa,” Cox told CNN’s Nick Valencia. The rapper “failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. when his visa expired in July 2006.”
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon,” Cox added, referring to the rapper’s 2014 conviction on drug charges.
Abraham-Joseph has been detained by ICE and placed in “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings,” the rapper’s lawyer Dina LaPolt said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “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.”
21 Savage’s latest album I Am > I Was reached Number One on the Billboard 200 album charts. The rapper also performed Thursday in his hometown as part of the Super Bowl Music Fest.