Rapper 21 Savage has been arrested by immigration officials in the United States, who claim the Atlanta-based musician is actually a British national whose visa expired in 2006.
Citing a statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Bryan Cox, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the 26-year-old has “been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts.”
ICE alleges that 21 Savage, born Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, arrived in the United States in 2005 at the age of 12. It is alleged his visa expired in July the next year, rendering him an unlawful resident in the years since. ICE also referenced the rapper’s 2014 conviction over felony drug charges.
The organisation said it will wait for a ruling from a federal immigration judge before determining any future actions against the rapper.
In a statement obtained by TMZ, the rapper’s lawyer Dina LaPolt said she was working to get her client out of detention over what she called a “misunderstanding.”
Along with his contributions to the city’s music scene, LaPolt referenced the initiative 21 Savage launched last year to teach real-world financial tips to teens.
“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,” LaPolt said.
The news of his arrest was unexpected, given a broad understanding of the rapper as a lifelong Atlanta local.
21 Savage has found incredible mainstream success through his music, much of which references his tumultuous upbringing in the city. His most recent album, I Am > I Was, hit #1 on the US Billboard 200 chart and reached #30 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums chart upon its debut last year.