Rapper 21 Savage donates $25K for legal aid for detained immigrants

Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage has given $25,000 to the Southern Poverty Law Center after the watchdog organization helped him while he was in federal immigration custody earlier this year.

The rapper, whose real name is She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested Feb. 3 in what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said was a targeted operation over his expired visa. Abraham-Joseph is a British citizen and moved to the U.S. when he was 7.

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In a statement, immigration attorney Charles Kuck said that the Atlanta-based rapper wants to support the work the SPLC has done to give immigrants legal representation and fight what Kuck called ICE's "oppressively adverse conditions of detention."

The rapper spent 10 days at the Irwin County Detention Center before he was released on a $100,000 bond.

His lawyers have said he applied for a new visa in 2017, and his case remains pending. Kuck said earlier that if the case follows the normal trajectory, it could take two to three years.

Abraham-Joseph said he believes the way immigration policy is enforced is broken, that he doesn't think people "should be arrested and put in a place where a murderer would be for just being in the country for too long."

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said shortly after Abraham-Joseph was taken into custody that he was arrested in a targeted operation that had been planned weeks to months in advance.

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Cox said at the time that Abraham-Joseph had overstayed his visa and also was convicted on felony drug charges in Fulton County, Georgia, in October 2014.

Abraham-Joseph's lawyers have disputed that he has a felony conviction on his record.

"He has a singular offense for marijuana when he was a college-age person," Spiro said in the television interview. "That's vacated, sealed. There's no issue."

Fulton County prosecutors have said they can't comment on the case, which they say was handled under the state's first offender law and is sealed.

An Atlanta police report from August 2014 says Abraham-Joseph was riding in a car driven by another man when officers stopped the car after an illegal U-turn in four lanes of traffic. During a search of the car with a police dog, officers found a jar containing 22.6 grams (0.8 ounces) of marijuana, 89 hydrocodone pills, a scale in plain view, two loaded guns and $1,775 in cash the report says.

Both men were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of hydrocodone with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, the report says.

A notice of seizure and forfeiture filed in Fulton County Superior Court in October 2014, says the $1,775 seized during the arrest is to be forfeited. It says the violation of law alleged is that Abraham-Joseph and the other man possessed marijuana.

Abraham-Joseph was nominated for two awards at the Grammys, including record of the year for "Rockstar" alongside Post Malone. His second solo album "I Am I Was," released in December, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.