Leon Wildes, John Lennon and DACA

Leon Wildes, John Lennon and DACA

"John Lennon and Yoko Ono were placed in deportation proceedings in 1972 by the Nixon Administration.  The reason for the urgency to remove him at the time, we later learned, was the fact that it was in 1972, that 18 to 21 year olds were first enabled to vote in U.S. national elections.  Lennon was advocating that we pull out of Vietnam and a great number of young people were listening.  Nixon was more anxious to continue our presence in Vietnam where he was sending 18 to 21 year olds off to war.  Senator Strom Thurmond suggested to Nixon that removing Lennon be “an appropriate counter measure.”  As part of Lennon’s defense in his deportation case, he claimed that there was a special program called “deferred action” which the INS often used as a discretionary tool to avoid removal of deportable aliens who had special humanitarian reasons for remaining.  The INS had denied such a program existed.  He filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act and succeeded in securing the files of 1,843 such approved cases.  Eventually, his case was declared to be a “deferred action” case as well and after five years of contested litigation he ultimately was granted lawful permanent residence status.  Lennon was most anxious to publicize the existence of this humanitarian remedy and make it available to others. It was my privilege to have assisted him in doing so." - Leon Wildes, Sept. 2012.