Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained 21 Savage in Atlanta, GA, on Super Bowl Sunday. The Grammy award-winning rapper was taken into custody without bond.
21 Savage—real name She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph—is a national from the United Kingdom (England), who originally entered the United States as a child. In 2005, his mother arrived in the country under an H-2 visa, which is an employment visa for certain service industries, while he entered on an H-4 visa, which is given to child dependents of the H-2 visa.
Their visas expired the following year, but 21 Savage and his mother never left, which is considered an immigration violation. The rapper is one of nearly two million immigrants who was brought into the U.S. legally as children but reside in the country without legal status.
21 Savage’s 10 days of detainment without bond might possibly be due to a 2014 incident, where he was charged with marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of certain felonies, and other offenses. He was later convicted of a misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance.
In 2017, the rapper was able to get that misdemeanor conviction expunged. However, although an expungement can seal a conviction from a background check, it is still considered a conviction during immigration proceedings.
21 Savage currently faces potential removal in federal court and a 10-year ban on re-entry.
The following are the potential legal remedies for the Grammy award-winning artist:
- Cancellation of removal – In order to revoke a deportation order, 21 Savage must meet four criteria: a decade of continuous physical presence, 10 years of past good moral character, no criminal convictions which warrant removal, and showing his family would suffer extreme hardship from the deportation. The rapper’s community service work could help establish “good moral character.” Keep in mind, these court proceedings would likely take years to play out since the immigration court has a massive backlog of cases.
- U visa – Two years ago, the rapper applied for a U visa, which is available for victims of certain crimes and subsequently provide aid to the police with criminal investigations in some manner. If approved, the visa could help him remain in the United States.
- O visa – This type of visa is reserved for individuals with extraordinary talents in the arts, sciences, education, athletics, or business, as well as those who are nationally recognized for their achievements. However, 21 Savage must reside somewhere abroad in order to gain entry to U.S. soil for up to three years with potentially unlimited one-year extensions.