He’s now America’s most famous illegal immigrant: Atlanta’s 21 Savage is facing the heat from federal immigration officials and is in danger of being deported back to his native England, but the rapper vows he won’t be leaving Atlanta without a fight.
Fans were stunned to discover that Savage, real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was actually a British national after he was detained by ICE agents due to an expired visa; Abraham-Joseph was brought to the U.S. as a young teen but his family never obtained permanent legal status.
Some have said savage was targeted by ICE after he made comments critical of U.S. deportation policies.
But Savage says he ain’t going back across the pond without a fight.
“If you tell me, ‘I’ll give you 20 million to go stay somewhere you ain’t never stayed,’ I’d rather be broke,” Savage said in a recent New York Times interview. “I’ll sit in jail to fight to live where I’ve been living my whole life.”
“I’m not leaving Atlanta without a fight,” he added. “We gon’ fight all the way till the last day even if that means I sit in jail for 10 years.”
Foreign-born residents are subject to deportation not only for having expired visas, but also are subject to be deported if they are convicted of a felony offense: Savage has been arrested for a felony before but reportedly, adjudication was withheld which his lawyers have said means the felony doesn’t count.
But last week, Savage was arrested in south Georgia on a warrant charging him with taking $17,000 from an area promoter in 2016 and then refusing to perform. Such cases are usually considered civil matters, but the promoter sought and obtained a warrant charging Savage with theft by deception–a third degree felony in Georgia.
The case is pending.
Savage’s lawyers have promised to mount a vigorous defense to keep the rapper, who is a father if three, in America.