21 Savage Arrested by ICE and Could Be Deported

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said the rapper is an "unlawfully present United Kingdom national."

By Corinne Heller Feb 04, 2019 12:42 AMTags
21 SavageStephen Lovekin/WWD/Shutterstock

UPDATED: Both ICE and 21 Savage's attorney sent statements to E! News about the rapper's recent arrest. Dina LaPolt, his lawyer, wrote, "We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community-leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy."

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) said they "arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA '21 Savage' during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday in metro Atlanta. Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon."

ICE'S note continued, "Mr. Abraham-Joseph 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, Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia."

It concluded, "Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts. ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions."


21 Savage was arrested on Sunday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and faces the possibility of being deported.

Officials from the department say the 26-year-old, Atlanta-based, Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Past reports had said 21 Savage was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica, a former British colony.

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ICE spokesman Brian Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the rapper is an "unlawfully present United Kingdom national" who legally entered the U.S. in July 2005 on a visa. He said the visa expired the following year. 21 Savage has been placed in "removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts," Cox said.

"His whole public persona is false," an ICE spokesperson told CNN. "He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported that the rapper has a criminal record; he was convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Georgia.

21 Savage is known for tracks such as "Bank Account" and "A Lot" featuring J. Cole. He made headlines in 2017 when it was revealed he was dating Amber Rose. They split the following year.

(This article was originally published on Feb. 3 at 1:55 p.m.)