As details of 21 Savage’s ICE arrest continue to unfold, the Atlanta-based rapper’s lawyer is speaking out. According to the BBC, attorney Charles Kuck is adamant his client never hid his immigration status.
In a statement, Kuck claims the platinum-selling artist’s arrest was “based upon incorrect information about prior criminal charges.” In 2014, 21 Savage — real name Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — was convicted of drug-related charges, although that conviction was reportedly expunged.
Kuck says his client was in the process of obtaining a U visa so he could legally stay in the United States. In 2013, 21 Savage was shot six times on his 21st birthday by a rival gang member in an attempted robbery. The ambush took the life of his little brother, Johnny “Tay-Man” Abraham-Joseph.
U visas are granted to non-citizen victims of crime who intend to cooperate with U.S. authorities.
ICE has yet to charge 21 Savage with a crime. Kuck believes he’s simply a victim of his parents’ decision to overstay their work visas.
“ICE has not charged Mr. Abraham-Joseph with any crime,” the statement reads. “As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own.
“This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purposes other than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his fight to fight to remain in the United States.”
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– Lola Angelec
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