No Relief For Slick Rick

After a few run-ins with immigration authorities following a sentence for attempted murder in 1990, London-born rapper Slick Rick‘s U.S. future remains uncertain.

“The situation we’re talking about happened in 1990,” Ricky “Slick Rick” Walters said October 18th. “This is 2006. I don’t know if this is about politics, or the law, or what. I’m just leaving it in God’s hands.”

Walters, who is married and has two children, likely thought things were going his way after a federal judge’s 2003 ruling freed him from a Florida detention center after 17 months. But Homeland Security officials have pressed forward with the case. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on September 20th vacated the 2003 order freeing Walters and ordered the case switched to a Georgia appeals court, which is considered far more conservative.

After Walters returned to his Bronx home in 1993 after doing time for attempted murder in a dispute in which he said his cousin was extorting money and threatening his family, the Immigration and Naturalization Service moved to deport the England native and jailed him again. A December 1995 ruling by an immigration judge said keeping Walters in the U.S. was “in the best interest of the country,” and he was quickly freed.

Walters resumed his music career and avoided trouble, but was arrested in 2002 by INS agents when he returned to Miami from a weeklong Caribbean cruise gig. The bust came on a 1997 INS 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.

Attorneys for Walters might appeal for the New York court to hear the case. The Second Circuit, while ruling for the government, said Walters had a good chance of avoiding deportation.

Walters said he sees no option besides continuing on.

“If you were in my shoes, how would you look at life?” he asked. “You’d ride life out, too. Anger would just make life not enjoyable, you know what I mean?”