Jay-Z says the arrest of rapper 21 Savage is “an absolute travesty” and has hired a lawyer to help his fight against deportation.

Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage, a British citizen, is being held by US officials due to an expired visa.

His real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph and he moved to America as a child.

A statement on Jay-Z’s Facebook page says Savage “deserves to be reunited with his family immediately”.

He has three children who are US citizens.

“His U visa petition has been pending for four years,” Jay-Z’s statement continued.

The U visa he has applied for is for victims of crime, after his lawyers said he survived a shooting in 2013.

21 Savage’s legal team say that he arrived in the US from the UK in 1999, aged seven.

But the USA’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE service says the musician arrived in 2005 aged 12 and went on to overstay his visa.

21 Savage’s lawyers concede that the 26-year-old doesn’t have the correct documents, but say they expired when he was a child, “through no fault of his own”.

Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation says a person charged with “visa overstay” should be allowed to be free while they fight their case.