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04 Feb 2019 1:09 PM
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UPDATE (06/02/2019 11:05AM): 21 Savage has released a statement and confirmed that he was in fact born in Britain but disputes ICE's version of events.

The 26-year-old Hip Hop star, who is curently being detained by ICE for allegedly living in the United States illegally, released a new statement via his lawyer confirming that he was born in the U.K. in 1992, but says ICE’s claims about his immigration history are inaccurate.

In their initial arrest, ICE alleged that Savage (né She’yaa bin Abraham-Joseph) came to the U.S. from Britain in 2005 when he was 12 on a one-year visa that was never renewed. Savage now states that he immigrated to the U.S. when he was 7 years old on an H-4 visa, which would’ve been around 1999. He says he then visited the U.K. for a month in 2005 and returned with a still-valid visa. By 2006, he says he lost his legal status “through no fault of his own,” and applied for a new visa in 2017 when he discovered he’d been in the U.S. illegally.

Savage’s entire family — including his sisters, mother and children — are legally in the United States and some are citizens. His reps stress that he’s not a flight risk because his loved ones are in the country. They are pleading for the rapper to be released from custody so that he may put together a defense and provide for his family. 

Savage’s legal team has been trying to clear the immigration issue up for months. Regardless of his efforts, ICE has placed the star into removal proceedings and he is currently waiting for his case to be heard in the federal immigration courts.


Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage has been arrested in a “targeted operation” by US immigration officials and is facing deportation because they say he is from the UK. 

News of his arrest broke yesterday (February 3) and, according to US immigration spokesman Bryan Cox, the Grammy-nominated musician, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the US in July 2005 aged 12 and failed to leave when his visa expired a year later. The musician, 26, is currently being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and is in federal immigration custody in Georgia. 

The news sent shockwaves on social media, as many considered the rapper to be an Atlanta local, born and raised in DeKalb County, which covers the eastern suburbs of the city. However, British records show he was born on October 22, 1992 in the East London borough of Newham.  

The US agency told the local Atlanta Journal-Constitution outlet that while 21 Savage had been arrested and later convicted for felony drug charges in 2014 - at the time, the US Department of Homeland Security was unaware that he was in fact British.

"His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the US from the UK as a teen and overstayed his visa," a CNN reporter quoted an ICE spokesman as saying.

The rapper has been placed in deportation proceedings in federal immigration court. The rapper's lawyers are now using all their resources to free their client.

"We are working diligently to get Mr Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding," his attorney Dina LaPolt told TMZ. 

IMAGE CREDIT: Prince Williams/WireImage