21 Savage's legal team said they believe ICE may have arrested the rapper because he recently released a song in which he criticizes the agency.
Five days before his arrest, 21 Savage rapped in the hit song “A Lot,” featuring J. Cole, about officials detaining children at the border.
“Been through some things so I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border / Flint still need water / People was innocent, couldn’t get lawyers,” he says.
“Many have speculated as to possible ulterior motives for his arrest and detention, including that he released music five days prior to his arrest by ICE, which included new lyrics condemning the behavior of immigration officials for their detention of children at the border,” 21 Savage’s legal team told People.
The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is facing deportation after he was arrested on Sunday for allegedly being in the country illegally through what his lawyers called “no fault of his own.”
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph was born in the United Kingdom. Mr. Abraham-Joseph arrived legally in the United States at the age of 7,” a statement from the rapper’s legal team said.
Abraham-Joseph reportedly visited the U.K. in 2005 and returned on an H-4 visa, which is granted to spouses or children under the age of 21. ICE claims the rapper overstayed that visa when it expired a year later.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been continuously physically present in the United States for almost 20 years, except for a brief visit abroad. Unfortunately, in 2006 Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s legal status expired through no fault of his own,” Abraham-Joseph’s legal team continued. “Mr. Abraham-Joseph, like almost 2 million of his immigrant child peers, was left without immigration status as a young child with no way to fix his immigration status.”
They went on to say the rapper should be considered like a recipient of DACA, that is, children who were brought to the country illegally by their parents.
His team also argued he has no criminal convictions although ICE previously claimed he was convicted of a felony in 2014.
The Grammy-nominated artist, who previously told people he was from Decatur, Georgia, is still currently being held.
The rapper’s manager posted about the conditions in which he says Abraham-Joseph is being held in a tweet.
“Just got off the phone wit Savage… he is in lockdown for 23hrs of the day no tv or any communication beside out 10 min phone calls.”