Rapper Slick Rick’s long-running immigration battle seems to be nearing an unfortunate end. A quick run-down: In 1990, after shooting his cousin and a bystander, the British-born Rick (née Ricky Walters) was convicted of attempted-murder charges; after serving jail time, he was nearly deported, but a U.S. judge decided to let him stay in the country. Then he hit the cruise-ship circuit, and all hell broke loose:
Walters, now 41, resumed his musical career and avoided trouble. But in June 2002, he was arrested by INS agents after returning to Miami from a weeklong Caribbean cruise where he was a featured performer.
The bust came on a 1997 warrant that was never previously enforced, although Walters had lived in the Bronx since before it was issued. A federal judge eventually ruled in October 2003 that the Bureau of Immigration Appeals had denied Walters due process in issuing the warrant…But Homeland Security officials, in a move that Walters’ supporters said was overzealous, pressed forward with the case – and a September federal appeals court ruling in the government’s favor led the rapper to wonder how long his past will affect his future.
So now Rick may be sent back to England, which is a damn shame, because this is a guy who did his time, paid his taxes, and helped make eye-patches a street cred-providing fashion accessory. Lou Dobbs would likely disagree, but we think it’s a little embarrassing that the INS doesn’t have better targets to pursue at this point–like, say, that guy from Fort Minor. Russell Simmons is holding a rally on Oct. 24, but we say the best method is get save Rick’s ass would be to help send his classic The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick back to the top of the charts, which would make him a celebrity, and therefore untouchable.
Slick Rick – Mona Lisa [MP3, link expired]
Bronx’s Slick Rick battles 11 years to stay in USA [AP]
Slick Rick Faces Deportation By Dept. Of Homeland Security; Russell Simmons-Sponsored Rally Planned [FishBowlNY]