ATLANTA — Records show the Atlanta rapper and humanitarian 21 Savage was jailed Thursday night in DeKalb County and released on bond on charges stemming from an arrest more than two-and-a-half years ago.
His attorney called the charges "manufactured" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency with which the England-born 28-year-old has had a long-running legal entanglement.
DeKalb County Jail records show 21 Savage, whose given name is Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was booked Thursday night at 9:48 p.m. and bonded out just a few minutes later at 10 p.m.
His charges include a drug possession felony, allegedly for having Codeine, and a firearms felony (for possessing a gun during the commission of the drug felony) from an incident in the early morning of Feb. 3, 2019.
His attorney, Charles Kuck, said in a statement that he believed ICE was the driving influence in the sudden charges on alleged violations nearly 32 months old.
“Last night’s manufactured charges are yet another example of how our justice system, from ICE down to the local level, unjustly targets young Black men who seek to exercise their rights. There is no legitimate basis for these charges nor for ICE’s continued antics, and we will fight until Mr. Joseph is justly vindicated," Kuck said.
21 Savage allegedly entered the U.S. legally in July of 2005 at age seven on an H-4 visa but failed to leave under the terms of his "nonimmigrant visa" when it expired in 2006, according to ICE.
Kuck told BuzzFeed News that this latest arrest came on the "eve of an Immigration Court hearing in Mr. Joseph’s deportation proceeding."
21 Savage, a father of three children who are U.S. citizens, has been fighting deportation since the 2019 arrest - a prolonged legal saga exacerbated by chronic case backlogs in immigration courts.
"As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, were left without legal status through no fault of their own," Kuck said in 2019, accusing ICE of trying to "intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States.
In October 2019, the rapper told the Associated Press the immigration process "hangs over your head forever" and said he believes children brought to the U.S., as he was, should be granted citizenship.
"I feel like we should automatically become citizens," he added. "When you're a child, you don't know what's going on. Now, you grow up and got to figure it out. Can't get a job. Can't get a license. I'm one of the lucky ones who became successful. It's a lot of people who can't."
According to BuzzFeed, 21 Savage has an immigration hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.