Really ICE, It’s Time to Deport Rapper 21 Savage

Rapper 21 Savage (born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) has been released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. Abraham-Joseph is now vowing to fight deportation. Although, exactly how he plans to do that is unclear.

Abraham-Joseph is a citizen of the United Kingdom. He entered the United States in 2005, at the age of 14. He failed to depart in accordance with the terms of his visa, which expired in July 2006. In simple terms, that means he’s an illegal alien and has been for at least 12 years.

On the basis of his unlawful presence alone, Abraham-Joseph is subject to removal from the United States, and subject to a 10-year bar on re-entry. The only question in removal proceedings before the U.S. Immigration Court would be whether he qualifies for any form of relief from deportation.

That seems unlikely. Abraham-Joseph isn’t a particularly sympathetic character – particularly in his 21 Savage persona, which glorifies illicit drug trafficking and gang violence. And criminal charges against him seem to be falling out of the woodwork:

  • Initially, ICE included a 2014 drug conviction as one of the grounds for deporting him. Then, without explanation, it dropped that charge.
  • A few days later, entertainment news outlet TMZ reported that Abraham-Joseph was the subject of a felony warrant for “theft by deception” issued by Liberty County, Georgia.

It remains to be seen whether the latest charges against Atlanta’s enfant terrible of gangsta-rap will be dropped or proceed to trial. However, it may not matter.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 101(a)(48)(A)(i) defines “criminal conviction” broadly. An alien may be removed as a criminal when a court has entered a formal guilty finding or when the alien has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt. Therefore, if Abraham-Joseph entered into any on-the-record agreements to escape formal conviction, ICE may still decide to proceed against him as a criminal alien.

But it’s also possible that an activist judge could take pity on the rapper and find a way to grant him some form of discretionary relief. After all, Abraham-Joseph styles himself as a representative of poor black Americans and oppressed migrants – despite an estimated net worth of $12 million.

However, if the Trump administration wants any of its immigration enforcement efforts to be taken seriously, it won’t permit the U.S. Immigration Court or the Department of Homeland Security to be swayed by the band of clueless musicians, actors and other celebrities have rallied around Abraham-Joseph. They have demonized ICE and tried to portray him as an immigrant icon.

That image, however, just doesn’t hold up. Abraham-Joseph garnered a fortune glorifying savagery, not building the infrastructure that made America great. One can only hope that an accumulation of cash through bad behavior doesn’t guarantee a free immigration pass to one so clearly has no respect for our laws.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar
    Donald Gitschier on

    Yes it is time for him to be deported! Way past tim in fact.the government knows who they are and if they refuse to deport, are NEGLIGENT in their job. They need to be fired and lose all government benefits for being fired. This will set an example and deter further dereliction of duty

  2. avatar

    And a lot of the justification for keeping him here will be that “this is the only country he knows”. BS. He came here at 14. He lived in Britain longer than here. And that is the case with a lot of these same people. It’s different to have been brought here at six years old. If you were ten or older you certainly remember where you grew up.

    A lot of talk about Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans. It’s NEVER temporary. The people who say that it will be, will then turn around in a couple years and say they have “established roots here”. They need to fix their own country. They first elected Hugo Chavez, with the adoring approval of many in Hollywood, and then Maduro, so they were voting for “socialism”. Stop running here and expecting us to pick up the pieces.

  3. avatar

    Thanks to millions of scofflaws already living in the US (and, the recent passage of the disastrous Omnibus/Border Bill), I’m sure Mr. 21 Savage, will no problem staying right here in the good ol’ USA! By the way, do you have any kids?