21 Savage on ICE agents pulling guns on him and deportation fears ‘It was definitely targeted’


 

In his first interview sine his arrest by ICE agents last week, 21 Savage spoke to Robin Roberts this morning on GMA about his ICE arrest, his British origins and how he plans to stay in the States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested the popular Atlanta rapper, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, on February 3 claiming he was a citizen of the United Kingdom who had overstayed his visa.

ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that the 26-year old rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was part of a “targeted operation” conducted in Atlanta. That operation’s purpose was to arrest 21 Savage as a person who was “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” and because they said he was also a convicted on a felony drug charges in 2014.

Today 21 Savage sat down for his first interview since being released and talked about told GMA‘s Lindsey Davis that he felt like he was targeted by ICE agents who said, “We got Savage.”

“Yeah, but I feel like I done been through so much in my life, like, I learned to embrace the times when I’m down ’cause they always build me up and take me to a new level in life,” he said.

“So it’s like even if I’m sitting in a cell on 23-hour lockdown, in my mind, I know what’s gonna come after that. So I’m not happy about it. But I’m accepting of it,” he added.

ICE officials claim he first came to the United States legally as a teenager in July 2005 on a visa, which expired the following year.

JAY-Z stepped in to help 21 Savage wade through his immigration issues and has enlisted the aid of attorney Alex Spiro to fight the case after Savage was arrested and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week, Variety reports.
“We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge,” Spiro told Variety. “What we have here is someone who overstayed their Visa with an application pending for 4 years—not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father, and entertainer who has a marijuana offense which was vacated and sealed.”
On Tuesday, 21 Savage’s lawyers appeared in court to argue for the artist to be granted bond, which the judge ultimately approved. Shortly after his release, the rapper’s mother Heather Joseph took to Instagram to thank supporters for her son’s release.

 

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So Very Thankful…to all the wonderful Fans of 21Savage, and forever grateful for the amazing vigorous hard work of Attorney’s Charles “Chuck” Kuck, Dina LaPolt, Alex Spiro, Tia Smith, Sally Velazquez, Danielle Price, Abbie Taylor & To all the other amazing Attorney’s..to Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez & each and every politician or public figure that stepped up and presented letters and made statements in defense of my son. To Jay Z, Cardi B, Offset, J Cole, Metro Boomin, Kei, Justin and all the many many other amazing people who either spoke out and/or offered comforting words of support…To the amazing Publicity team who together worked tirelessly to keep the facts out there, to make it possible to have national awareness of his situation and helped to gather tremendous support from wonderful people from all walks of life.. We are truly thankful and forever humbled…THANK YOU …THANK YOU….THANK ??????????????????

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“My mama told me to picture where I wanna be,” 21 Savage said, describing what was going on in his mind when he was detained. “She said, ‘Visualize yourself, whatever you wanna do, just close your eyes and visualize yourself doing that. And as long as you do that, you will never be in jail.'”
ICE reportedly told 21 Savage they’d drop his deportation proceedings if he left the U.S. voluntarily, but the rapper declined.

Savage’s lawyer’s think he was targeted by ICE agents due to song lyrics in “A Lot” that are critical of Trump’s immigration policy to separate children from their parents at the border.

21 Savage also talked being released after nine days in detention on $100,000 bond and being reunited with his three children.

Will 21 Savage be deported?

Despite being released from federal custody, 21 Savage could still deported, thanks to a new policy implemented by Donald Trump which changes the eligibility of who is allowed to stay in the United States.

Trump reportedly changed U.S. immigration policies from Obama and Bush, according to TMZ. The new policy initially deports people even if they have a pending visa application, allowing them to come back only if it’s approved.

But Savage’s reps released a statement clarifying his immigration status.

READ MORE: 21 Savage’s English origins stun fans of the Atlanta rapper.

His team argues that he is a DREAMER and was promised citizenship under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.

Sources told TMZ that the decision to arrest and deport 21 Savage was made several months ago by the Atlanta bureau of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The decision was to have ICE arrest Savage and hold him without bond until he was deported.

It is unclear why ICE wanted Savage held without bond, aside from an incorrect belief that he was a felon. In 2014, Savage’s drug conviction was vacated and sealed, which essentially erases it, but it appears court records weren’t updated.