Newham-born rapper 21 Savage accused of being an illegal immigrant in the US

PUBLISHED: 14:18 04 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:18 04 February 2019

21 Savage with his ex-partner Amber Rose at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017. Pic: PA

21 Savage with his ex-partner Amber Rose at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017. Pic: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Atlanta-based Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage who is accused of being an illegal immigrant by the US government was born in Newham, records show.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the musician is a British national who is in the country “unlawfully” after legally moving to the country on a now-expired visa in 2005, and that he is also a “convicted felon”.

The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested early on Sunday during a targeted operation.

ICE southern region spokesman Bryan Cox said: “Mr Abraham-Joseph initially entered the US legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the US when his visa expired in July 2006.

“In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.”

A national newspaper has obtained a copy of 21 Savage’s birth certificate which shows he was born in Newham General Hospital.

His mother was also born in Newham.

Dina LaPolt, the rapper’s lawyer, said they are “working diligently to get Mr Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings”.

“Mr Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community - leading programmes to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”

21 Savage is nominated for two Grammy Awards for this weekend’s ceremony, including record of the year for the chart-topping track Rockstar with fellow rapper Post Malone.

The 26-year-old released a new music video on Friday for his song A Lot featuring J Cole, from his new album I Am @ I Was, which was released in December.

The record, his second studio album, reached 33 in the UK albums chart and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.

He has collaborated with the likes of Drake, Cardi B, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, and was previously in a relationship with model and actress Amber Rose.

A federal immigration judge will determine future actions.

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