Online petition to stop 21 Savage's deportation

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The rapper 21 Savage may not be in this country much longer.

Federal agents arrested 21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph this past weekend, not on criminal charges, but on an immigration violation charge.

Abraham-Joseph is in federal custody after ICE says the United Kingdom National was arrested for violating immigration law during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday morning.

RELATED: Rapper 21 Savage taken into custody by ICE in Atlanta

In a statement, ICE says “Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and is also a convicted felon.

“Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart ...and he became unlawfully present when his VISA expired in July 2006.”

In October 2014, Abraham-Joseph was arrested on felony drug and other charges.

Charles Kuck, his immigration attorney, said in a statement, ICE detained Abraham-Joseph based on incorrect information about prior criminal charges and is now refusing to release him on a bond of any amount.

Kuck likened 21 Savage to millions of so-called DREAMers, saying ICE has not charged Abraham-Joseph with any crime, adding as a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status

Kuck also said Abraham-Joseph is not a danger to the community and is an example of the type of immigrant we want in America.

For many who love 21 Savage, surprise about his arrest quickly gave way to outrage.


Rapper Vince Staples joined many others in tweeting, "Free 21!"

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors established an online petition to stop his deportation that was fast gaining signatories.

Singer Demi Lovato felt some of the anger when she tweeted Sunday that "21 savage memes have been my favorite part of the Super Bowl." She later clarified that she wasn't laughing "at anyone getting deported," but subsequently deleted her Twitter account.

While it's not clear if it had anything to do with his own status, Abraham-Joseph did just recently address the subject of immigration and detention. Last week on the "Tonight Show," he added a verse to his song "A Lot: that include the line, "been through some things, but I couldn't imagine my kids stuck at the border."

21 Savage’s case has garnered international attention which has now led to an online petition calling on ICE to stop his deportation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.