UK-born rapper 21 Savage was held at a US detention centre so that the Trump administration could send a message on immigration, his lawyer has claimed.
The federal government’s immigration policies had been “pretty debilitating”, Dina LaPolt alleged.
“And I think that, you know, they look for ways to make examples of people,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA).
The rapper – real name Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph – said a helicopter had been involved on 3 February.
“I was just driving” the 26-year-old told GMA. “And I just seen guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone.”
Asked whether he had been told that he was under arrest, he said, “No, they didn’t. They didn’t say nothing. They just said: ‘We got Savage.’
“It was definitely targeted,” the father-of-three said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) declined to comment on Ms LaPolt’s claims, GMA said.
ICE agents detained 21 Savage on charges of being a foreign citizen who had overstayed his US visa by more than a decade.
He was released on a $100,000 (£77,650) bond from an ICE detention centre in south Georgia on Wednesday.
During the TV interview, the rapper said he was seven when he first arrived in the United States.
He added that he left the US in 2005 to attend his uncle’s funeral and returned the same year.
“I didn’t even know what a visa was,” he said when asked whether he was aware it had expired.
Ms LaPolt said America was built by immigrants and that 21 Savage had given back to his community by setting up “national financial literacy programmes” and by helping young mothers.
“He’s an amazing individual,” she said.
Asked whether he feared being deported, 21 Savage said: “Yeah, but I feel like I been through so much in my life.
“I learned to embrace the times when I’m down because they always build me up and take me to a new level in life,” he said.
The rapper’s legal team said a deportation hearing was pending but that they were confident he would be able to remain in the US.
(c) Sky News 2019: 21 Savage says he was ‘definitely targeted’ during US arrest