Rapper 21 Savage taken into custody by ICE in Atlanta

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Recording Artist 21 Savage attend his 21 Savage And His Leading By Example Foundation Host 3rd Annual Issa Back 2 School Drive on August 5, 2018, in Decatur, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Leading By Example Foundation)

Federal authorities detained the rapper known as 21 Savage during an immigration enforcement operation in metro Atlanta Sunday morning. Agents said the man, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is in the country illegally and is also a convicted felon.

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The rapper, songwriter, and record producer was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying his visa. The 26-year-old is a British national who arrived in America at the age of 14, according to the feds. Authorities said under the terms of his non-immigrant visa, 21 Savage was required to leave the U.S. by July 2006.

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The feds say he was convicted on drug charges in Fulton County in 2014. Officials say more charges are possible.


ICE released the following statement:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA “21 Savage” during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday in metro Atlanta. Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon.

"Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. when his visa expired in July 2006. In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.

"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.”

No word yet from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Georgia on those charges.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for 21 Savage says she is working to get the Grammy-nominated rapper out of federal immigration detention.

Lawyer Dina LaPolt said in an email to the Associated Press that she is working with authorities "to clear up any misunderstandings." She says Abraham-Joseph is a role model to many young people in the U.S., especially in Atlanta.

21 Savage is best known for his single “X” off the Metro Boomin collaborative album Savage Mode released in 2016. He also collaborated with Drake on the single “Sneakin.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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