Since 21 Savage‘s recent detainment by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, questions have swirled around about the truth of the agency’s claims of his birthplace and immigration status. TMZ reports that through his legal team, the rapper – born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph – has released a statement that confirms that he was born in the United Kingdom and offers clarity on ICE’s claims as he seeks to be released from detainment.
The statement says that in addition to being born in the U.K., he came to the United States legally when he was seven years old. “He remained in the United States until 2005, when he departed for approximately one month to visit the United Kingdom,” it reads. “He returned to the United States under a valid H-4 visa on July 22, 2005.” It goes on to say that he’s been in the country legally for almost 20 years, although his legal status expired in 2006 “through no fault of his own.”
Another of the revelations is that he has a pending application for a U visa, which is “set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity,” according to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. “This U visa was filed as a result of being the victim of a deadly shooting in 2013,” the statement reads. “That visa was filed in 2017 and remains pending. When granted, the U visa will afford him lawful status in the United States.”
It also makes the case to let him out on bond, saying, “Mr. Abraham-Joseph is not a ‘danger’ to the community as his acts of philanthropy and goodwill, as well as his music, continue to improve the communities from which he comes.”
21 Savage was detained on Monday by ICE on Monday following a “targeted operation” on Atlanta rapper Young Nudy, who 21 Savage happened to be with. At the time of his arrest, ICE released a statement saying that the rapper “initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently 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. In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, (21 Savage) was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.”
Soon after, the rapper’s attorney, Charles H. Kuck, shared his own statement saying the rapper’s detainment by ICE was “based on incorrect information.”
Dina LaPolt, another of his lawyers, gave a statement to CNN saying “We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings.” Read the full statement from 21 Savage’s team right here.