On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 3, rapper 21 Savage was reportedly arrested by ICE officers in Atlanta, Georgia. According to CNN, ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox claimed in a statement that the Grammy-nominated rapper, whose real name is Shayaabin Abraham-Joseph, has allegedly been living illegally in the U.S. since 2006 and is actually a British national. So is 21 Savage British? According to reports, he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and now faces deportation. Elite Daily reached out to Abraham-Joseph's team for comment on the arrest, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
According to Cox, Abraham-Joseph reportedly came to the U.S. at the age of 13 in 2005, and then reportedly failed to leave when his visa expired in July 2006. Throughout his rap career, Abraham-Joseph has said in his music that he's from Georgia (he said in an interview with XXL released in June 2016 that he's from Decatur, Georgia), so this entire situation has fans confused. According to the Associated Press, the arrest was a targeted operation.
In an emailed statement to the Associated Press on Feb. 3, Cox said,
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.
Abraham-Joseph was also reportedly arrested in October 2014 for felony drug charges, but was not arrested by ICE at that time.
"We were not aware of his immigration status in 2014 and we have since obtained the information," Cox said in the statement, according to ABC News. "He was arrested by local law enforcement agencies [in 2014] and given that we weren’t aware, it didn’t trigger a warning subsequent to all that."
Dina LaPolt, one of Abraham-Joseph's lawyers, said in a statement,
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.
LaPolt did not elaborate further on the "misunderstandings" she was referring to.
There are people on Twitter that are making jokes about the arrest, which isn't cool. But mostly, people are just confused and hoping it's all cleared up soon.
21 Savage is nominated for his first Grammy for his collaboration with Post Malone on "Rockstar." The song is up for Record of the Year as well as Best Rap/Sung Performance. The Grammys annual broadcast is coming up this Sunday, Feb. 10, but now it's not clear if the rapper will be able to attend.
On Feb. 1, the 2019 Grammy Awards performers were announced. Post Malone will be taking the stage to perform some of his hits, "Rockstar" most likely included, but according to the list of performers, he'll be performing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers instead of 21 Savage. But given that the performers were announced well before Abraham-Joseph's arrest, the two events don't appear to be connected.