Jay-Z hires lawyer for 21 Savage after rapper arrested by ICE over 'unlawful presence' in US

Rapper offered help after being taken into custody on Sunday in Atlanta

Clémence Michallon
New York
Wednesday 06 February 2019 22:46 GMT
Rapper 21 Savage arrested in US due to being UK citizen

Jay-Z has hired a lawyer for 21 Savage after the rapper was arrested by US immigration agents.

21 Savage – real name Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph – was taken into custody on Sunday in Atlanta, the southern US city in which he has based his music career.

Lawyer Alex Spiro confirmed to The Independent that he was hired by Jay-Z and his entertainment company Roc Nation to help Abraham-Joseph with his legal case.

On his Facebook page, Jay-Z published a message of support for Abraham-Joseph, writing: “The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years. In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately, #Free21Savage”

The Independent has contacted Roc Nation for more information.

Abraham-Joseph was detained in a targeted operation in the Atlanta area and put in deportation proceedings, US Customs and Immigration Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox told AP.

The rappper’s attorneys said US immigration officials have known his status at least since 2017, when he applied for a new visa. That application is pending, and his attorneys say he should be freed while it remains so.

Both sides agree that Abraham-Joseph has not had legal status since his family’s visas expired in 2006. ICE has alleged that Abraham-Joseph came to the US in 2005 at age 12 while Abraham-Joseph’s attorneys have said he began living here at age seven, and the 2005 arrival was from a monthlong visit to England.

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“Mr Abraham-Joseph has been continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad,” Kuck Baxter Immigration, the law firm representing Abraham-Joseph, said in a statement Tuesday. “Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph lost his legal status through no fault of his own.”

Additional reporting by agencies.

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