After spending more than a week in a detention center, rapper 21 Savage was granted his release from the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, his legal team announced on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested on Feb. 3, with ICE representatives claiming that he originally came to the United States from the United Kingdom in 2005 but stayed in the country illegally after his non-immigrant visa expired the following year.
21 Savage was seen preparing to board a private jet with his mother to fly home to Atlanta, Georgia, in a photo obtained and published by TMZ on Wednesday. His lawyers, Charles H. Kuck, Dina LaPolt, and Alex Spiro, said in a Facebook statement on Tuesday that the rapper had been granted a release on bond. He was not able to actually walk free until the following morning, which was the earliest they were allowed to pay, Kuck told The New York Times.
“For the past nine long days, we, on behalf of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known to the world as 21 Savage, have been speaking with ICE to both clarify his actual legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society,” reads their Facebook statement. “In the last 24 hours, in the wake of the Grammy Awards at which he was scheduled to attend and perform, we received notice that She’yaa was granted an expedited hearing. Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom.”
The rapper also addressed those who have supported him throughout his detainment, his lawyers said.
“He says that while he wasn’t present at the Grammy Awards, he was there in spirit and is grateful for the support from around the world and is more than ever, ready to be with his loved ones and continue making music that brings people together,” their statement reads.
21 Savage was nominated for two Grammys and was originally scheduled to perform during the awards ceremony on Sunday alongside rapper Post Malone, whose song “Rockstar” — a track on which 21 Savage is featured — was nominated for “Record of the Year.”
The “Bank Account” artist's seemingly sudden detainment was the result of a targeted sting operation, ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said in a statement to CNN earlier this month.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” reads a statement from the organization. “ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”
21 Savage was arrested in October 2014 on felony drug charges, a fact Cox also referred to in his statement.
Following 21 Savage’s arrest, LaPolt, one of the rapper's lawyers, told CNN that they were working with 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,” LaPolt said.
The rapper filed a U visa application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2017, which is still pending, his attorneys said shortly after his arrest. The Department of Homeland Security has known 21 Savage’s address since he began the application process, and he has “never hidden from DHS or any of its agencies,” their statement continued.
News of the rapper’s ties to the United Kingdom came as a shock to many of his fans, who believed him to be a native of Atlanta, Georgia, an area he has lived in for years. He is especially known for his charity work in the area.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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