Rapper Slick Rick Facing Deportation Again

Rapper Slick Rick

has enlisted the aid of Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network to help

prevent him from being deported from the United States. The

organization will hold a press conference Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. in front of the Federal

Court Building in New York. Slick

Rick (born Richard Walters), 41, served five years and 12 days in prison for shooting

his cousin and a bystander in a disagreement in 1990. Under

U.S. law, any foreign national who serves more than five years in prison for committing

a felony faces automatic deportation.In

1995, the rapper won a ruling by an immigration judge allowing him to stay in

the U.S., but in June 2002 Slick Rick was re-arrested after performing on a Caribbean

cruise ship.When

the luxury boat returned to Miami, the Immigration and Naturalization Service

cited a 1997 arrest warrant on immigration violations and charged Rick with voluntarily

deporting himself and illegally reentering the country.Rick

served 17 months in the INS Detention Facility in Bradenton, Fla., before being

released in October 2003. The

rapper's case has been assigned to Florida's 11th Circuit Court and he has been

stripped of his status as a permanent resident and once again, faces deportation."With

all of the real and present threats to American society from terrorism, why is

the government chasing this rapper?" asked HSAN Co-Chairman Dr. Benjamin

Chavis. "It's an obscene misuse of scarce resources."Since

the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has hardened its policy toward

illegal aliens residing in the country. According

to Jean Butterfield, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association,

the U.S. is deporting almost 200,000 aliens per year."They're

breadwinners whose families are U.S. citizens--and in most cases there's nothing

a judge can do to help them," Butterfield said. "The mentality now is

enforcement only. Discretion has been taken away from the judges and put in the

hands of the executive branch. It's a damaging policy, which has not made the

country safer. On the contrary, it inflicts untold hardships on our economy, our

families, and our social fabric."According

to Chavis and Slick Rick's supporters, the rapper is a model citizen who completed

his parole, has not been convicted of any crimes since his original conviction

and is a hardworking family-oriented man. Says

Chavis, "The government is conducting a vendetta against Rick and we're not

going to stand for it."