Rapper Slick Rick is expected to be released from Immigration and Naturalization Service detention following a federal judge's ruling. Judge Kimba Wood on Friday reversed a 1997 Bureau of Immigration
Rapper Slick Rick is expected to be released from Immigration and Naturalization Service detention following a federal judge's ruling. Judge Kimba Wood on Friday reversed a 1997 Bureau of Immigration Affairs decision to deport the U.K. native because of a 1991 conviction for attempted murder.
It is unknown exactly when Rick, whose real name is Ricky Walters, will be released from an INS detention center in Bradenton, Fla., where he has been incarcerated for 17 months.
Although he was raised in the New York borough the Bronx, Walters never became a U.S. citizen. He served two-and-a-half years for attempted murder for shooting a bystander and his cousin, who he claimed extorted money and threatened to kill his family. Five months after his release into a work program, he was jailed again when the INS initiated proceedings according to a law requiring foreign nationals who commit felonies in America to be deported.
In late 1995, the Bureau of Immigration Affairs issued the rapper a 212C waiver after considering his "recording career, property ownership, family ties, remorse and rehabilitation and charitable work," according to a statement. The move allowed Slick Rick to remain free in the U.S.
But after performing on a Caribbean cruise ship in May 2002, the rapper was arrested upon his return to Miami and charged with deporting himself and illegally re-entering the country. Despite public pressure and pleas from the likes of rapper/actor Will Smith, actor/comedian Chris Rock, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), he was considered a flight risk and has since remained in detention.
In late December, Wood issued an order preventing Slick Rick's deportation pending her final decision, which was recorded yesterday (Nov. 3) in New York. Wood ruled that a 1997 Bureau of Immigration Affairs decision to deport denied the rapper due process and reinstated the office's original 1995 decision.
"We always knew our arguments had merit and we're pleased that Judge Wood agrees with us," lawyer Alex Solomiany says in a statement. "The government was determined to deport Rick, but we were just as determined to keep him here."