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How a former Beatle helped shape immigration policy

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How a former Beatle helped shape immigration policy

DECEMBER 2, 2014    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2014, 8:10 AM
BY MICHAEL WILDES
THE RECORD
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FORMER BEATLE John Lennon left us a beautiful legacy of extraordinary music. He also left us an immigration legacy that, while less well known, could have an equally profound effect upon life in the United States as it relates to immigrants.

John Lennon and the author’s father, Leon Wildes.

The recent steps announced by President Obama to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and now to offer deferred action to certain parents of U.S. and permanent residents have their roots in the John Lennon case. We can visualize a smiling Lennon because it was the successful litigation and outcome in his case that enabled the government to accomplish this feat.

How did he accomplish this?

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were placed in deportation proceedings precipitously in 1972 when their request for an extension of their visitors’ stay was summarily denied. The reason for instituting deportation was not because they had broken any American law, but simply because then-President Richard Nixon felt that their presence in the United States could adversely affect his chances for reelection.

Throughout the deportation proceedings, which lasted almost five years, from 1972 to 1976, immigration officials publically said they were treating the Lennons no differently than any other undocumented person and that the Immigration and Naturalization Service had no option other than to deport every illegal alien. Thousands of letters sent to the INS also received written responses to that effect.

Nothing was further from the truth.

Opinion: How a former Beatle helped shape immigration policy

DECEMBER 2, 2014    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2014, 8:10 AM
BY MICHAEL WILDES
THE RECORD
Print

FORMER BEATLE John Lennon left us a beautiful legacy of extraordinary music. He also left us an immigration legacy that, while less well known, could have an equally profound effect upon life in the United States as it relates to immigrants.

John Lennon and the author’s father, Leon Wildes.

The recent steps announced by President Obama to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and now to offer deferred action to certain parents of U.S. and permanent residents have their roots in the John Lennon case. We can visualize a smiling Lennon because it was the successful litigation and outcome in his case that enabled the government to accomplish this feat.

How did he accomplish this?

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were placed in deportation proceedings precipitously in 1972 when their request for an extension of their visitors’ stay was summarily denied. The reason for instituting deportation was not because they had broken any American law, but simply because then-President Richard Nixon felt that their presence in the United States could adversely affect his chances for reelection.

Throughout the deportation proceedings, which lasted almost five years, from 1972 to 1976, immigration officials publically said they were treating the Lennons no differently than any other undocumented person and that the Immigration and Naturalization Service had no option other than to deport every illegal alien. Thousands of letters sent to the INS also received written responses to that effect.

Nothing was further from the truth.

https://www.northjersey.com/opinion/opinion-guest-writers/how-a-former-beatle-helped-shape-immigration-policy-1.1144583

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