21 Savage's lawyer believes the rapper is being "unnecessarily punished" by U.S. immigration authorities.

The rapper, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested on Sunday (03Feb19) amid allegations he's a U.K. national who has been living in America since 2005 without the correct paperwork. He is now being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Georgia, Atlanta, and threatened with deportation back to England, which his lawyer Charles H. Kuck argues is a "civil law violation".

"The continued detention of Mr Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States," Kuck, of law firm Kuck Baxter Immigration, said in a statement.

He added that authorities had been aware of 21 Savage's status since 2017, when he applied for a visa for victims of crime. Kuck also claimed that the musician was being held by officers because of “incorrect information about prior criminal charges". It's believed he's referring to 21 Savage's 2014 felony drug conviction - but the record was expunged last year. However, the ICE does not have to honour an expungement.

“ICE has not charged Mr. Abraham-Joseph with any crime," Kuck explained. "As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own,

"He rose above the difficult circumstances of his youth to achieve success and make contributions to our society that rival any of those by a natural born citizen. Mr Abraham-Joseph has U.S. citizen children that he supports and is eligible for relief from deportation."

Concluding his statement, Kuck said: "We and he will fight for his release, for his family, and his right to remain in our country. No one would expect less from him."

Following 21 Savage's arrest, stars including Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Offset have spoken in support of the star. And as the pleas to free the rapper continue, activist movement Black Lives Matter have created a petition to #Free21Savage.

"The circumstances of Mr. Abraham-Joseph's detention stand as a testament to the consistent and historically under-reported harassment and targeting of Black immigrants," the description reads. "The U.S.' violent history of criminalising Blackness intersects with its deadly legacy of detaining and deporting Black and Brown immigrants. This needs to stop today!"

As WENN went to press, the petition had 113,330 signatures.