21 Savage finally confirmed some of the immigration rumors that have swirled around him since ICE arrested him for living illegally in the US, clearing up the confusion about when he first arrived and how his visa expired. According to The Blast, representatives for the 26-year-old rapper clarified that he actually moved to the US when he was seven years old, left for a month, and returned on a valid visa in 2005.
When he returned, he was only 12 years old, so when his visa expired the next year, he didn’t know and wouldn’t have been able to fix it himself. Once he realized his status in 2017, he did apply for the U visa, but hadn’t received any follow-up from the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) since then. It’s possible that ICE learned of his illegal classification from the background check that comes with the application, but that still doesn’t explain why it wasn’t discovered when he was arrested for drug possession in 2014 or why ICE cited his expunged conviction for that crime in their statement after his latest arrest.
Meanwhile, a number of 21’s colleagues, friends, and family have spoken out against the arrest as well as the joke memes generated from it, which included a snipe from 50 Cent that the currently incarcerated Tekashi 69 “snitched” on 21 Savage. Savage’s mother, Heather Joseph, posted an angry statement on her Instagram, writing, “It’s a damn shame when we live in a world where people thrive off and feed negative energy.. laugh at others who are going through real life challenges, fighting for their lives & freedom…sick of it! However, in the end people will see! This too shall come to pass. Free 21 Savage.”
J. Cole, who worked with the Atlanta rapper on his I Am > I Was single “A Lot,” tweeted, “Praying for 21 savage let that man be with and provide for his kids.” Savage’s co-manager, Justin “Meezy” Williams, posted, then deleted, an update on his current condition, saying, “He is in lockdown for 23hrs of the day no tv or any communication besides our 10 min phone calls. Everything I’ve told him that has been happening made him happy & makes this time fly by thank y’all for the support.”