Rapper 21 Savage is confident he was "deliberately targeted" by immigration officials when he was arrested earlier this month (Feb19).
The British-born Bank Account rapper, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by officials from America's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Atlanta, Georgia on 3 February for overstaying his visa and held in a detention centre for nine days until he posted a $100,000 (£78,000) bond. He was released on Wednesday (13Feb19).
He opened up about the experience for the first time in an interview with Good Morning America (GMA), which aired on Friday morning, and claimed he was targeted as he recalled his arrest.
"I was just driving. I just seen guns and blue lights. And then I was in the back of a car. And I was gone," he said. "They didn’t say nothing (to me). They just said, ‘We got Savage’... It was definitely targeted."
When asked if he thought he was targeted because he took aim at immigration officials in his recent single A Lot, he replied that his lawyers believed that but he wasn't sure.
His lawyer Alex Spiro added: "We believe he was targeted because he's both a celebrity and they can use this as a way to send a message and also his music."
The rapper arrived in the U.S. legally when he was seven years old, but his legal status expired in 2006 and he filed an application for a U visa in 2017.
"I didn't know what a visa was," he explained. "I was seven when I first came here, I knew I wasn't born here, but I didn't know what that meant as far as when I transitioned into an adult, how it was going to affect my life. I wasn't hiding it, but I didn't want to get deported so I'm not gonna just come out with, 'I weren't born here.'"
The 26-year-old, who admitted he was concerned about deportation, added that he would now do what he could to help other detained people who lacked his resources.
"I don't think the policy is broken, I think the way they enforce the policy is broken," he added. "I don't feel like you should be arrested and put in a place where a murderer would be for just being in the country for too long."