Rapper 21 Savage arrested by ICE, agency says he’s from the United Kingdom

Rapper 21 Savage released from ICE detention, 'aggravated felony' charge dropped

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 U.K. citizen who overstayed his visa. Since his arrest, 21 Savage had been held at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.

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“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. 

21 Savage’s deportation case is still pending in Atlanta and may not be resolved for a couple of years, his attorneys said.

Related: Rapper 21 Savage arrested by ICE, lawyers say he overstayed visa 'through no fault of his own'

Authorities said the musician was arrested Feb. 3 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. 

ICE declined to comment on 21 Savage’s case Wednesday, though the federal agency has previously said it focuses on detaining and deporting people with criminal records.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 21 Savage has a 2014 felony drug case in Fulton County, but Charles Kuck, one of 21 Savage’s attorneys, told The New York Times that conviction was vacated and the charges were dismissed in 2018.

21 Savage has been released on bond from federal immigration custody after being detained for more than a week.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

BuzzFeed News reported the Department of Homeland Security attorneys dropped an aggravated felony charge against the rapper in immigration court Tuesday. 

“I think this case is emblematic of a lot of cases where people are detained for not correct reasons, but they don’t always have resources to fight the system,” Kuck told BuzzFeed News. “This case is very emblematic of what happens in immigration court and detention.”

Related: Jay-Z says 21 Savage arrest is ‘absolute travesty’

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.” 

According to The Blast, 21 Savage boarded a private plane with his mother upon release from the detention center. He flew home to his Atlanta residence about 200 miles north.

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