Jay Z is helping rapper 21 Savage in his immigration legal battle, BBC is reporting. 21 Savage — whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — moved to the United States as a child from the United Kingdom. He is now being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to an expired visa. According to Abraham-Joseph and his lawyers, the rapper came to the U.S. in 1999 at the age of 7. ICE believes Abraham-Joseph actually came to America in 2005 at the age of 12 and ended up overstaying his visa.
Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers admit that the rapper does indeed lack the proper documentation, but that his visa expired while he was a child due to “no fault of his own.” Jay Z and his company, Roc Nation, argue that anyone charged with “visa overstay” should be released and free while they are fighting their case. Jay Z made posts both on Twitter and Facebook last night where he pointed out that Abraham-Joseph had three children — all American citizens — and that his U visa petition has been pending for four years. The U visa he applied for is given to victims of crime, and his lawyers say he was a victim of a shooting in 2013. He reapplied for the visa in 2017, which may have alerted ICE and led them to do a background check on him.
While Abraham-Joseph has his lawyers and support from various other artists such as Cardi B, Meek Mill, and Offset, Jay Z has gone above and beyond by taking action. The mogul has hired successful New York immigration lawyer Alex Spiro to aid in Abraham-Joseph’s case. Spiro is already fully on board, telling reporters that they will “not stop” until Abraham-Joseph is freed. He also denied ICE’s claims that the rapper had a criminal record. While he was charged with drug offenses in 2014, they had been removed from his record.
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
“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,” Spiro told TMZ.
Abraham-Joseph was arrested early February 3 in Atlanta. The rapper theorizes that ICE targeted him specifically as he had just released a song condemning actions of immigration officials.
21 Savage is nominated for two Grammy Awards on February 10, but it is doubtful he will be able to attend the show.