JAY-Z has shared his support for British-born rapper, 21 Savage, who was arrested by ICE on Sunday for overstaying his visa. He remains in federal immigration custody and faces potential deportation.
Amid an outcry from the hip-hop community, Shawn Carter has joined the #Free21Savage movement. In a statement, the Roc Nation boss called Savage’s arrest an “absolute travesty” and demanded that he be released from detention immediately.
“The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years,” said JAY-Z. “In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately.”
She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (@21savage) is currently 26 years old, an engaged father of 3 children who were born in the U.S.
U.K. born Abraham-Joseph has been living in the U.S. since the age of 7. pic.twitter.com/FQQOABJ20V
— Roc Nation (@RocNation) February 6, 2019
Although Savage is not signed to Roc Nation, JAY-Z has hired attorney Alex Spiro to assist with the rapper’s case, calling it a “matter of injustice.”
Spiro tells TMZ, “We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge … 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.”
21, who was born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph in east London, had a visa permit pending for four years before he reapplied for his U visa in 2017, which may have led to a background check that discovered his visa was expired and triggered his arrest.
His lawyers believe that ICE arrested him after he slammed immigration officials during his performance on “The Tonight Show” last month where he changed the lyrics to his hit “a lot.” “Been through some things but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border,” rapped Savage. “Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers.”
Savage has been in lockdown 23 hours a day, according to his manager. His legal team says he should not be in mandatory detention under federal law and is eligible for bond. “There continues to be no legal reason to detain Mr. Abraham-Joseph for a civil law violation that occurred when he was a minor, especially when people in his exact situation are routinely released by ICE,” reads a statement from his lawyers.
JAY-Z has been an outspoken advocate in the hip-hop community. He was instrumental in Meek Mill’s release from prison after a controversial sentence for violating parole.