Rapper 21 Savage on Facing Possible Deportation: ‘I’d Sit in Jail to Fight to Live’ in the United States

21 Savage: ‘I’d Sit in Jail to Fight to Live Where I’ve Been Living My Whole Life’
21 Savage performs onstage at Rolling Stone Live: Minneapolis presented by Mercedes-Benz and TIDAL. Produced in partnership with Talent Resources Sports on February 2, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Rolling Stone

21 Savage is speaking out about the possibility of facing deportation after being arrested and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

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The British rapper, 26, who was released on bond on February 12, shared his truth with the New York Times in a piece published on Sunday, February 17. “It really wasn’t jail, it was the possibility of me not being able to live in this country no more that I’ve been living in my whole life,” he said of what bothered hm most. “All that just going through your head, like, ‘D–n, I love my house, I ain’t gonna be able to go in my house no more? I ain’t gonna be able to go to my favorite restaurant that I been going to for 20 years straight?’”

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In fact, the two-time Grammy nominee, who was forced to miss the awards ceremony due to his incarceration, said he would trade all his money for the chance to remain in the country he grew up in. “That’s the most important thing. If you tell me, ‘I’ll give you $20 million to go stay somewhere you ain’t never stayed,’ I’d rather be broke. I’ll sit in jail to fight to live where I’ve been living my whole life.”

Us Weekly reported that 21 Savage (née Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) had been picked up by ICE officers in Atlanta on February 3.

ICE issued a statement at the time: “Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. 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.”

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The law enforcement agency also noted that the Atlanta-based musician had been placed in “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” with a federal judge to “determine future actions.”

21 Savage: ‘I’d Sit in Jail to Fight to Live Where I’ve Been Living My Whole Life’
21 Savage attends the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund 15th Anniversary Event at Brooklyn Navy Yard on November 5, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The “Monster” singer  moved to the U.S. when he was 7 years old, but left in 2005 for an uncle’s funeral. He returned in July of that year.

He told the NYT Sunday, about growing up on U.S. soil, “It made me who I am. I wouldn’t write it no other way if I had the choice. If they said, “Hey, you could start your life over and make yourself a citizen,” I wouldn’t have never did it. I still want to go through this right here ’cause it made me who I am, it made me strong.”

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