Juan Martinez, better known as J-Swift of the legendary hip-hop group The Pharcyde, is facing the possibility of being deported to his birthplace of Spain. According to LA Weekly, 43-year-old J-Swift was detained after a spot date in Vancouver where he reunited with Pharcyde for a performance. His work visa checked out fine when entering Canada, but when he tried to leave on Jan. 15, he was detained by U.S. customs. J-Swift's legal status is complicated, with convictions that stretch all the way to a burglary conviction during the L.A. riots. After he left Pharcyde in the '90s, he struggled with bouts of substance abuse after the death of his father and the loss of his record deal. As chronicled in the documentary titled "1 More Hit," J-Swift faced deportation before but was given a second chance after his children pled for him to remain in the country. He was given an opportunity to stay, but only if he stayed clean.
However, in 2012, he was arrested again for possession of less than a gram of rock cocaine, which set his current predicament into motion. Judge Anna Ho requested his deportation, and J-Swift requested an appeal and left for the Bizzare Ride tour in Europe. He wasn't flagged during this trip, but he failed to realize one small caveat to his appeal— he couldn't leave the United States. The term of this appeal finally caught up to him, and according to U.S. immigration attorney Duncan Miller, J-Swift also had the unfortunate luck of having one of the toughest immigration judges. “We basically went down to the border and begged them to let him in,” he told LA Weekly. “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.” J-Swift was allowed to stay with friends while awaiting word, but was thrown back into prison after missing a court-mandated appearance.
J-Swift, who is currently scheduled to be deported on Mar. 26, is trying to stay positive and told LA Weekly, “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.” Contributions from his friends and his former label have already been donated to pay his legal fees. A GoFundMe (which has only raised $35 so far) was also created.