21 Savage Granted Release, Pending Immigration Hearing

The rapper born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph has been held in ICE custody for the past nine days.

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Feb 12 2019, 8:25pm

On Sunday, Feb. 3, 21 Savage was taken into custody by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for allegedly being in the country illegally. According to authorities, the rapper born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was a United Kingdom citizen who entered the United States in 2005 and stayed after his temporary visa that expired in 2006. He’s been detained by federal immigration authorities for the past nine days but now, according to TMZ and his representatives, he’s been granted release on bond and is set to be released on Wednesday, February 13.

In a release, his law firm Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC wrote, “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 statement also gives a message from 21 Savage to his fans, ”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.” The date for 21 Savage’s expedited deportation hearing has not been announced.

The whole ordeal is shocking given the length of 21 Savage’s detainment and the delay in granting bond. As the Guardian’s Rashad Robinson and Jose Antonio Vargas point out, “Holding Bin Abraham-Joseph prisoner indefinitely for a visa violation doesn’t make sense—he does not pose a flight risk, or a threat to the community” Even stranger, a ICE spokesperson told CNN after 21 Savage’s arrest that his “public persona is false” because he had come to the US “as a teen and overstayed his visa.” That kind of aggressive statement from a government agency attacking an artist’s character is alarming to say the lease.

As a birth certificate reported by Reuters revealed, 21 Savage was born in the borough of Lambeth, in south London in 1992 and entered the United States when he was only 12 years old. His lawyers also state that the U.S. government had been aware of 21 Savage’s legal status as early as 2017 because the artist had applied for a U-Visa in 2017, which is gives to victims of crimes committed in the US. In 2013, 21 Savage was shot six times and his friend was murdered.

21 Savage had been detained at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA, which Azadeh Shahshahani, former National Security and Immigrants’ Rights Project Director for the ACLU of Georgia, called "a horrendous place and one of the worst immigration detention centers in the U.S.” Shahshahani’s interview with Rolling Stone paints a terribly bleak picture of the conditions 21 Savage likely endured in the facility where allegations of solitary confinement, ignored sexual abuse, inaccessible medical care, and spoiled food run rampant.

Read our Ask A Lawyer feature explaining the ins and outs of 21 Savage’s arrest.

Correction: A previous version of this post stated that 21 Savage had been released on bond. According to developing reporting at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he has only been granted release on bond, but currently remains in custody.