An appeals board has upheld an order to deport rapper Slick Rick back to England, where he was born and lived until age 11.
Officials wouldn't say when the matter was ruled on, but the Board of Immigration Appeals recently upheld the Immigration and Naturalization Service's order to deport the pioneering patch-wearing lyricist. According to U.S. immigration law, any non-citizen who serves more than five years in prison for a felony conviction is automatically deported, and Slick Rick (born Ricky Walters) served five years and 12 days in prison in 1996 for an attempted-murder rap.
In June, Walters was seized after performing on a Caribbean cruise ship, and he's been detained in a Florida jail ever since without bond (see "Slick Rick In Jail, Facing Deportation"). Slick Rick's family and friends have been joined by Russell Simmons, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Will Smith and many others in speaking out on his behalf (see "Slick Rick Speaks From Prison: Deportation Would Be 'Inhumane' "). And recently, John Conyers, a black Democratic congressman from Michigan, called INS officials to plead for Rick's release.
Despite the swell of support, a spokesperson for the INS said a move overseas is imminent for the rapper, but a spokesperson on Slick Rick's side told MTV News that they've filed a new appeal, this time for an emergency stay of deportation, and that "they have a few more tricks up their sleeve" before they give up on keeping Rick in America.
Slick Rick rose to prominence by appearing on Doug E. Fresh's classic "La-Di-Da-Di" in 1985. His debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, went platinum and included signature tracks like "Children's Story," "Mona Lisa" and "Treat Her Like a Prostitute."