Officials from Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed they have been in contact with rapper 21 Savage’s lawyer in America. The rapper was picked up during an immigration sweep by ICE agents in Atlanta on Sunday, Feb. 3.
According to The Blast, the “Bank Account” rapper, who was born Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by ICE as part of a “targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners”.
In a statement to Atlanta news station WSB-TV on Sunday, an ICE representative said the musician was taken into custody “as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon”.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa.”
Until the news of his arrest hit headlines on Sunday, 21 Savage’s fans believed he was a local act from Atlanta. He kept his true birthplace secret while his lawyers discussed his immigration status with U.S. officials.
The Blast’s sources say his legal team has been trying to clear up his immigration issues “for months” and the issue has to do with the validity of his visa paperwork when he entered the country.
ICE agents claim the hip-hop star is actually a U.K. national who overstayed his 2006 visa without the correct paperwork to remain in America. The 26-year-old now faces deportation to England.
According to WENN.com, a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office tells Reuters they spoke with 21 Savage’s lawyer Dina LaPolt.
“Our staff are in contact with the lawyer of a British man following his detention in the USA,” UK officials said.
The 2-time Grammy nominee’s lawyer, Dina LaPolt, tells TMZ that the arrest was due to a “misunderstanding”.
“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding,” she commented.
Apparently the rapper was denied a green card which would have allowed him to remain in the country permanently.
The rapper and his siblings were raised in England by his mother, Heather, a Dominican national. The family moved to DeKalb County, Georgia in 2005, where one of his brothers was killed in a drug shootout.
21 Savage is best known for his 2015 underground mixtape, The Slaughter Tape, and his debut album Savage Mode (2016). He is also widely known for once dating West Coast socialite Amber Rose, pictured 2nd from right with Blac Chyna, far right.
Savage is nominated for two Grammy Awards for “Rockstar”, his hit collaboration with rapper Post Malone. The Grammy Awards is scheduled to broadcast live from Los Angeles next Sunday.