Beatmaker Kutmah Tells Tale of Deportation from Los Angeles

Noted LA beatmaker Kutmah was born in Brighton, England, but came to live in Los Angeles at the age of 12 when his single mom became ill and was unable to look after him. He lived here illegally ever since, eventually making a name for himself in the local music scene. He was a Dublab regular and on the roster of the LA RECORD‘s emerging music label until he was picked up in Los Angeles by immigration officials nearly a year ago.

The Guardian of London has the first person tale of his arrest in Los Angeles and subsequent deportation:

I was asleep in bed with my girlfriend, Gaby, and we were woken at 5am by knocking on the door and a torch at my window. I knew straight away it was the police. I actually felt relieved. I was sick of hiding, and certain that if I spoke to the right person I’d be allowed to stay. I told Gaby I’d see her later and asked the police if I could grab my sunglasses before we left. They laughed and said, “You won’t need sunglasses where you’re going.” I thought they were joking.

Then we drove through LA to pick up others. When I saw people crying and kissing their families goodbye, it started to click that something serious was happening. I was put in a room with 75 men and six hours later handed a letter with a check box that read: deported for 10 years. I wasn’t allowed to see a lawyer. I was driven to the airport and flown to a detention centre in New Mexico. The plane was pitch dark and my arms and legs were handcuffed. I wet myself trying to get to the toilet. …

At first I was optimistic about getting out. My friends in LA gathered a petition of 4,000 signatures demanding my release, which I presented to the deportation officer. “I’m good at my job,” he said. “I’ll do everything I can to make sure that you’re deported.” After 22 years of living in LA, it was all over.

Kutmah isn’t allowed to apply for an American visa for another nine years.