More details in Pharcyde producer J-Swift’s possible deportation surfaces.
If you haven’t followed his story, the hip-hop vet traveled to Vancouver in February for a show with his former bandmates. Although he presented Canadian officials with his work visa, as he returned home to the U.S. (where he’s lived since the age of 2), he was denied entry.
J-Swift has since been detained in Canadian federal prison awaiting deportation to Spain, the country in which he was born, reports L.A. Weekly.
“L.A. is the only home I’ve known. I’m terrified I won’t be able to see my wife again or my kids grow up,” he said, via a phone interview with the paper. “My mom is 70 years old, handicapped, and afraid that she’s going to die without ever being able to see me again.”
Apparently, he’s piled up a string of arrests since the 1990s, beginning with a burglary conviction during the L.A. riots.
After leaving The Pharcyde in the early ‘90s, he fell into a downward spiral of substance addiction, following the death of his father and the dissolution of his record deal. In the years following, Swift endure bouts of homelessness and multiple arrests for drug possession, which were chronicled in the 2007 documentary, 1 More Hit.
He would eventually face potential deportation, but his children pleaded to a judge to let their father remain in America, which was was granted, but after several years of sobriety, he relapsed. In 2012, he was arrested him for possession of less than a gram of rock cocaine, which has since triggered new deportation proceedings.
L.A. immigration judge Anna Ho ruled for his deportation last August, prompting Swift to file an appeal, before he left for the “Bizarre Ride European Tour” last September. He returned home without incident, but in February, after performing in Canada, he was denied the chance to return home.
Duncan Miller, a U.S. immigration attorney, tells L.A. Weekly that they tried to get him home while going through the appeals process to no avail.
“We basically went down to the border and begged them to let him in,” he said. “I know all the guys there and they took the request up the ladder until someone in Washington D.C. said it was a no-go.”
Legally, according to Swift’s attorneys, he should be allowed back into the U.S. as he awaits his fate in his appeal. Unless he can return home, Canadian officials will put him on a one-way flight to Madrid on March 26.
“This all basically comes back to two small drug charges,” Swift said. “I’ve never sold drugs. I’m not a criminal. I beat a demon and have been sober for three years and providing for my children. My only hope now is to go to Spain and continue my appeal, get my travel documents re-organized and pay a lawyer to try to get me back into America while I wait on my appeal. But if I can’t raise a thousand dollars to pay him, I’m doomed.
“I just want to be able to see my family again, that’s all,” he added. “I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
Swift’s family has launched a GoFundMe campaign, in an attempt to raise money for his legal fund. They’ve set a goal for $25,000, but have raised just $660 as of press time.
He tells L.A. Weekly that he’s already spent $4,000 fighting his cases.