Jay-Z has hired an attorney to assist rapper 21 Savage in his battle with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Shortly after ICE arrested the 26-year-old performer, born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, on Sunday — Jay-Z and his label, Roc Nation, enlisted New York-based attorney Alex Spiro to assist 21 Savage with his legal case.
ICE alleged the U.K. national overstayed his visa, and he was placed into deportation proceedings in federal immigration court.
Spiro told Variety, he’s doing everything possible to get 21 Savage released.
“We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge,” Spiro said. “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.”
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Jay-Z, a friend of 21 Savage’s, released a statement in support of the rapper Wednesday on Facebook.
“The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years. In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately, #Free21Savage,” the statement said.
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told The Atlanta-Constitution Journal the “Skrrt, Skrrt” performer was taken into custody during a “targeted operation” in Atlanta.
Reps for the London-born rapper have said he arrived legally in the U.S. from Great Britain at age 7. He remained in the U.S. until 2005, when he returned to the U.K. for a brief visit. He came back to the U.S. under a valid visa and has remained stateside since then. However, federal officials say his visa expired in 2006, and he remained in the city.
ICE reportedly wasn’t aware of 21 Savage’s immigration status when he was convicted on felony drug charges in Fulton County, Georgia back in October 2014. The rapper’s reps say the charges were later expunged from his record. They also allege that he was targeted by ICE after rapping about family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The rapper has three U.S.-born children, and four siblings that are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
21 Savage is nominated for two Grammys this year, but it’s unlikely he’ll attend the ceremony on Sunday night in light of his detention.