Slick Rick moved one step closer to putting constant threats of deportation behind him with his full and unconditional pardon Friday by New York Gov. David Paterson.See Also:
The rapper, born Ricky Walters, was convicted of attempted murder in 1991 and spent over five years in prison. The 43-year-old faced numerous attempts to deport him, even though he has lived in the U.S. since he was a child.
Rick spent over five years in prison after his 1991 conviction of attempted murder. Although he finished all of his probation requirements, he kept facing threats of deportation by INS officials.
He was arrested again in June 2002 by Immigration agents who stopped him after he returned to Miami from a weeklong Caribbean cruise, where he was a featured performer. The arrest stemmed from a 1997 Immigration and Naturalization Service warrant that had not been pursued earlier, and he spent 17 months in jail.
In announcing the decision to pardon the artist, Paterson noted that Walters is now a rap artist and landlord in the Bronx who has not had any other criminal problems since his release from prison and has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel against violence.
"Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years," Paterson said. "I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children."
Slick Rick responded in a statement: "This has been a long and difficult road and I am happy for this to be settled once and for all. I look forward to enjoying this time with my family and friends and to continue leading an honest and productive life."
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