Slick Rick Speaks Up About Deportation Woes
Slick Rick (whose real name is Ricky Walters) and his attorney Alex Solomiany, joined Farai Chideya on her NPR program to discuss how immigration laws continue to threaten his residency in the US.
Born in the UK, Rick came to the US in 1976 and is currently hoping to avoid deportation under a law passed in 1996 which orders that foreigners convicted of violent felonies be deported.
Since the September 11 attacks, that law has been enforced more vigorously than in previous years.
As previously reported, although an immigration judge previously ruled that Slick Rick would be allowed to stay in the US, the government has recently re-opened Rick's case and may ultimately deport him for his 1991 conviction for attempted murder . Rick served five years in prison for that crime.
During the summer of 2002, Rick was detained by immigration when returning from a cruise ship where he'd been performing. He spent 17 months in detention at that time, fighting deportation until his residency was restored.
He was released last November, but last month the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York vacated the order freeing Rick and had the case moved to a Florida appeals court that is typically more severe when ruling on immigration issues.
"I just see the laws as not being humane enough," Rick told Chideya. "If a person hasn't committed a crime since 1990, 16 years later we want to throw him out because of some kind of paperwork technicality? That's a problem with Congress and a lot of things that are going on in the world today. We have to present ourselves in the international world as humane and intellectual. We cannot present ourselves as [having] lack of compassion."
Throughout the program Rick continued to question the rationale behind American immigration policies.
"You gotta have common sense. You gotta have intellect," Rick continues. "We got more things going on in America than to make ourselves look like we're just inhumane, barbaric, anti-immigrant...I don't wanna come across like a pity party, I'm just trying to say that's the real deal."
The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, founded by Dr. Benjamin Chavis and Russell Simmons have rallied behind Slick Rick at the behest of his family, who are hopeful he will be allowed to remain in the states.