21 Savage on thin ICE as he overstays his welcome in the US

Beibhinn Thorsch explores 21 Savages recent detainment by US Immigration.

British national, 21 Savage (real name  She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) was detained without bond on February 2nd by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who claim he has long overstayed his visa and is eligible for deportation.


ICE is a US law enforcement agency tasked to enforce immigration laws and investigate criminal and terrorist activity of foreigners who live in the US.

The rapper’s attorney, Charles H. Kuck, said that at the time of the offence Abraham-Joseph was a child, who was left without legal status when his parents overstayed their visas, through no fault of his own.

“This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him,” Kuck said.

21 Savage was born in London to English parents, and there is conflict as to when he moved to the US. The rapper’s legal team said he was seven years old at the time of the move, while ICE say he was 14.

There has also been conflicting information between the rapper and his lawyers, who state different years for when he applied for a U-visa, one which would protect victims of crimes and their families. This was after the rapper had been the victim of a shooting in 2013.

21 Savage is currently being held in custody in Georgia, one of the most aggressive ICE states.

The main issue for Abraham-Joseph now is that his mother had overstayed her H-2 status visa, which his H-4 visa derived from, as he was her child. This was an immigration violation.

There is also unclear information on the rapper’s criminal record. ICE says that Abraham-Joseph was part of a 2014 felony drug case, however this incident resulted in a misdemeanor sentence.

Lawyers on the rapper’s side say that he has a clean record, as his charge for this incident was removed from his record in 2017 – once again, though, it’s unclear what the full story is with the charge, as some reports say the sentence was only “sealed” and not “vacated”.

One of the current possibilities for Abraham-Joseph to be freed is if his attorneys push for a bond motion, which would lead to a hearing where the judge would only consider if that person is a danger to the community or a flight risk.

However, due to the clogged-up court system in the US at the moment, it could take years for any movement on the rapper’s case.

There are no other known high-profile celebrities in ICE custody at the moment, however, many of these level celebrities are heavily backing 21 Savage in the hopes that he will be freed.

Cardi B alongside husband, Offset, and the rest of his trio, Migos, have called to ‘Free 21’ on social media. Killer Mike has also spoken out in support.

Many have, however, criticised singer Demi Lovato for liking and sharing memes which seemed to be making fun of the situation, with some other celebrities speaking out against these actions.

21 Savage began rapping after his friend died in a shootout on his 21st birthday, and has released multiple EPs and singles since then.

He is best known for his feature on Post Malone’s song Rockstar in 2017, which was his first number one single.

Since then, the rapper has reached new heights with the release of his collaboration with Offset and Metro Boomin, also in 2017. In December of 2018, he also released his second album I Am > I Was.

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, staying there for two weeks.


Béibhinn Thorsch


Image Credit: