Washington, Feb 4 (IANS) The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage, saying he was illegally present in the country, according to an agency spokesperson.
ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox said on Sunday that the rapper, whose real name is Shayaabin Abraham-Joseph, is a citizen of the UK, CNN reported.
The agency has alleged that he entered the US legally in July 2005, when he was a minor, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his non-immigrant visa.
His visa expired in July 2006, according to the ICE.
After he was arrested in Atlanta on Sunday, “Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody (in the city) and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts”, the agency said in a statement.
“ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”
An attorney for Abraham-Joseph said his representatives were working to secure his release.
“We are working diligently to get Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings,” Dina LaPolt told CNN on Sunday night.
“Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”
Abraham-Joseph was also convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia, ICE said.
The rapper features on the song “Rockstar” by Post Malone, which was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Rap Performance for the upcoming Grammys.
ICE’s allegation that Abraham-Joseph is British came as a shock to the artist’s fans, as he is most closely associated with Atlanta and its music scene.
He has said the “21” in his name is a reference to a street gang in Decatur, and his songs often refer to his past in East Atlanta’s Zone 6.
In the single “Bank Account”, he raps that he is “straight up out the 6”.