Atlanta rapper 21 Savage posing with his mother, Heather Joseph, after his release from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla Wednesday morning. Photo courtesy of 21 Savage’s media relations team.
Photo: 21 Savage media relations team
Photo: 21 Savage media relations team

Rapper 21 Savage freed from immigration detention center in S. Georgia

Rapper 21 Savage returned home to the Atlanta area Wednesday after he was freed from a federal immigration detention center in South Georgia, his attorneys said.

Born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, the musician was granted a $100,000 bond during a closed hearing in an Atlanta Immigration Court Tuesday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him earlier this month, saying he’s a citizen of the United Kingdom who overstayed his visa. His deportation case is still pending in Atlanta.

A spokeswoman for the rapper released a photo of him posing with his mother, Heather Joseph, outside a small airplane after his release from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla on Wednesday morning.

Related: ICE arrests rapper 21 Savage, says he is actually British and overstayed visa

“He is pleased with the outcome and his family is elated, of course, that he is returning home after days of stress and uncertainty,” said Tia Smith, one of his immigration attorneys.

More: 21 Savage granted bond

21 Savage’s attorneys have pointed out the musician was arrested just days after he appeared on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, apparently singing about the plight of immigrant children amid enforcement of President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy on the southwest border. Performing “A Lot,” he sang: “Been through some things but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border.”

ICE declined to comment on 21 Savage’s case Wednesday, though the federal agency has said previously it focuses on detaining and deporting people with criminal records. Federal authorities also said previously that 21 Savage was convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Fulton County. But the rapper’s attorneys have said he has no criminal record. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said it could not confirm or deny whether he was convicted, citing Georgia’s first offender law, which allows records to be expunged and sealed.

“ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” the agency said in a statement issued Feb. 3, the day 21 Savage was apprehended. “ICE only conducts targeted enforcement and does not conduct any type of indiscriminate raids or sweeps that target aliens indiscriminately.”

21 Savage was nominated for two Grammys this year, including record of the year for “Rockstar.” He legally came to America on a visa when he was seven and remained here until 2005, when he left for a month to visit the United Kingdom, his attorneys said in a statement last week. He returned to the United States under a visa and has been here for nearly 20 years. In 2006, he lost his legal status “through no fault of his own,” the statement says. He has three U.S. citizen children, his mother is a lawful permanent resident and his four siblings are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Meanwhile, 21 Savage is applying for a visa that allows crime victims to remain legally in the United States. He was a victim of a shooting in 2013, his attorneys said.

ICE said it arrested 21 Savage last week during a “targeted operation” aimed at Young Nudy, whose real name is Quantavious Thomas. DeKalb County police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved. 21 Savage happened to be with Thomas.

Related: Rapper Young Nudy arrested with 21 Savage on unrelated charges

Thomas is scheduled to attend a bond hearing Tuesday in DeKalb. He faces gang- and fire arm-related charges and an aggravated assault charge. Some of the charges are from 2017. His attorney, Scott Smith, predicted he will be released on bond.

“Based upon our independent investigation,” Smith said, “we don’t believe a judge would deny him bond.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.