In his first public statement since his detainment, the rapper, real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, confirmed that he was born in the U.K. in 1992, as was revealed in a document appearing to be a birth certificate yesterday. However, he refutes some of ICE’s other claims.
ICE alleged that Savage arrived in the US in 2005 at the age of 12 on a one year visa that was never renewed, while Savage explained that he first arrived in the United States at the age of 7 under an H-4 visa. He then remained in the US until June 2005, departing for approximately one month to visit the UK, returning to the US with a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005.
According to the statement, since July 2005, Savage has been “continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad.” In 2006, he lost his legal status “through no fault of his own.” When he discovered he had been in the US illegally, he applied for a U visa in 2017.
The statement goes on to refute claims made by ICE:
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has no criminal convictions or charges under state or federal law and is free to seek relief from removal in immigration court. ICE provided incorrect information to the press when it claimed he had a criminal conviction.
Mr. Abraham-Joseph has three US Citizen children, a lawful permanent resident mother and four siblings that are either US Citizens or lawful permanent residents. He has exceptionally strong ties in the United States, having lived here since he was in the first grade. Because of his length of residence in the United States and his immediate relatives, Mr. Abraham-Joseph is eligible to seek Cancellation of Removal from an Immigration Judge.”
Many have speculated that 21 Savage may have been targeted by ICE in relation to his appearance last week on The Tonight Show. He performed “A Lot” from his new album I Am > I Was, with lyrics criticizing border control. “Been through some things so I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border. Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.” Read the full statement here and watch his performance below.
Since his arrest, countless members of the rap community and beyond have voiced their support for 21 Savage and political organization Dream Activist started a petition to stop his deportation. US House representative Hank Johnson of Georgia’s 4th district has written a letter to the judge overseeing Savage’s deportation proceedings, underlining the rapper’s charitable efforts in the city of Atlanta.
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