21 Savage Arrested by ICE, May Be Deported

Rapper 21 Savage was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Atlanta Sunday morning, on the grounds that he is actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa, according to reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and TMZ.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA ’21 Savage’ during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday in metro Atlanta,” ICE spokesman Brian Cox told the AJC. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon.” Savage was convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.

The arrest was met with baffled reactions online, as the rapper has long been associated with Atlanta and performed with local rappers T.I., Migos, Lil Yachty and Ludacris at an A-town-heavy concert in the city on Thursday during the run-up to today’s Super Bowl. However, Cox told the AJC that Savage, 26, is an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who legally entered the U.S. in July 2005 on a visa that expired a year later, Cox said.

21 Savage is nominated for two 2019 Grammy Awards for his work as a featured artist on Post Malone’s song “Rockstar”; the awards ceremony takes place next Sunday. He released his debut, “The Slaughter Tape” mixtape, in 2015 and signed with Epic Records. His most recent album, “I Am > I Was,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

The rapper’s attorney, Dina LaPolt, told Variety: “We are 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, Georgia and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”

Reps for Savage did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.

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