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21 Savage is British and in US illegally, say ICE officials

FACING DEPORTATION: 21 Savage

21 SAVAGE has been arrested by immigration officials in the US who say that he is actually from the UK and in the country illegally.

The Atlanta rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the US when he was 12 years on in July 2005 and did not leave when his visa expired a year later, ICE (immigration and customs enforcement) officials have said.

He could face deportation from the US, the country where he’s built his career and amassed a huge following.

CNN correspondent Nick Valencia, tweeted that a spokesman for ICE told him the rapper’s “whole public persona is false”.

According to reports, officers discovered 21 Savage’s immigration status after he was in the car with another rapper who was being targeted by authorities in relation to a criminal arrest.

21 Savage was also taken into custody by officers who then learned that he was in the US illegally.

“There is no misunderstanding. 21 Savage is a British national,” Valencia reported ICE said via a statement.

Dina LaPolt, the rapper’s lawyer, told TMZ: "We are working diligently to get Mr Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding. Mr Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in the country – especially in Atlanta, Georgia and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy."

News of the reason for 21 Savage’s detention has prompted an outpouring of memes online, with many making fun of the rapper’s situation.

But some have argued that ICE, whose conduct is often critiqued, has exploited the situation to cause maximum damage to 21 Savage’s image.

Vann R Newkirk, a journalist at The Atlantic, tweeted: “I wasn’t following the 21 Savage stuff super closely but it is clear that ICE purposefully maximized [sic] the professional/PR damage to him.”

The 26-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper, recently topped the US Billboard album chart with his latest release I am > I was.

He has worked with stars including Drake, Cardi B, Post Malone.

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