Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act
FBI Records

John Lennon

Deportation Attempt


Posted Monday October 2nd 2023

John Lennon New York Teletype
Airtel to New York Teletype
Re: Republican National Convention

In view of subject's avowed intention to engage in disruptive activities surrounding RNC, New York Office will be responsible for closely following his activities until time of actual deportation. Afford this matter close supervision and keep Bureau fully advised by most expeditious means warranted.

John Lennon, former member of Beatles singing group, is allegedly in U.S. to assist in organizing disruption of RNC. Due to narcotics conviction in England, he is being deported along with wife Yoko Ono. They appeared at Immigration and Naturalization Service, New York, 3/16/72, for deportation proceedings but won delay until 4/18/72 because subject fighting narcotics conviction and wife fighting custody child case in U.S. Strong possibility looms that subject will not be deported any time soon and will probably be in U.S. at least until RNC. Information developed XXXXXXXXXX that subject continues to plan activities directed toward RNC and will soon initiate series of "rock concerts" to develop financial support with first concert to be held Ann Arbor, Michigan, in near future. New York Office covering subject's temporary residence and being instructed to intensify discreet investigation of subject to determine activities vis a vis RNC.

John Lennon EYSIC
Election Year Strategy Information Center
February 7, 1972

For your information, organization formerly known as Allamuchy Tribe, led by Rennie Davie, convicted Chicago Seven Conspiracy trial defendant, was recently renamed EYSIC


On February 2, 1972, a representative of Immigration and Naturalization Service, New York, advised that Lennon, born October 9, 1940, in England, arrived in Mew York City on August 11, 1968, with B-2 visitor's visa. He left the United States and subsequently reentered holding H-1 temporary visa which expires at the end of February, 1972. Lennon has applied for a B-2 visa indicating his intention to become a United States citizen.



John Lennon Files Charged Out
To Director Domestic Intelligence from Washington Field

Election Year Strategy Information Center (EYSIC), is dash new left, calrep, new york file 100-175228, WFO file 100-55361. P.

John Winsto Lennon, SM dash new left, oo: New Yotk, WFO file 100-55429. RUC.

RE Nytel to Bureua, first caption, February two, last.

Special Clerk XXXXXXXXXX Determined February Ten instant from Central Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that files regarding John Winston Lennon and Wife Yoko Ono Lennon are currently charged out to INS, New York City.

John Lennon Discreet Efforts
To: SAC, New York from Director, FBI

John Winston Lennon
Enclosed for information of New York are two copies of Alexandria airtel dated 3/31/72 captioned "White Panther Party, IS - WPP; CALREP; MIDEN," which contains information from Alexandria source relating to current activities of subject.

It appears from referenced New York teletype that subject and wife might be preparing for lengthy delaying tactics to avert their deportation in the near future. In the interim, very real possibility exists that subject, as indicated in enclosed airtel, might engage in activities in U.S. leading toward disruption of Republican National Convention (RNC), San Diego, 8/72. For this reason New York promptly initiate discreet efforts to locate subject and remain aware of his activities and movements. Handle inquiries only through established sources and discreet pretext inquiries. Careful attention should be given to reports that subject is heavy narcotics user and any information developed in this regard should be furnished to narcotics authorities and immediately furnished to Bureau in form suitable for dissemination.

John Lennon

WikipediaFBI surveillance and declassified documents
After Lennon's death, historian Jon Wiener filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI files that documented the Bureau's role in the deportation attempt. The FBI admitted it had 281 pages of files on Lennon, but refused to release most of them on the grounds that they contained national security information. In 1983, Wiener sued the FBI with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. It took 14 years of litigation to force the FBI to release the withheld pages.

All but 10 Documents Released
The ACLU, representing Wiener, won a favorable decision in their suit against the FBI in the Ninth Circuit in 1991. The Justice Department appealed the decision to the Supreme Court in April 1992, but the court declined to review the case. In 1997, respecting President Bill Clinton's newly instigated rule that documents should be withheld only if releasing them would involve "foreseeable harm", the Justice Department settled most of the outstanding issues outside court by releasing all but 10 of the contested documents.

The Deportation attempt
Following the impact of "Give Peace a Chance" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" on the anti-war movement, the Nixon administration heard rumors of Lennon's involvement in a concert to be held in San Diego at the same time as the Republican National Convention and tried to have him deported. Nixon believed that Lennon's anti-war activities could cost him his reelection; Republican Senator Strom Thurmond suggested in a February 1972 memo that "deportation would be a strategic counter-measure" against Lennon.

The next month the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began deportation proceedings, arguing that his 1968 misdemeanor conviction for cannabis possession in London had made him ineligible for admission to the United States. Lennon spent the next three-and-a-half years in and out of deportation hearings until 8 October 1975, when a court of appeals barred the deportation attempt, stating "the courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds". While the legal battle continued, Lennon attended rallies and made television appearances. He and Ono co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show for a week in February 1972, introducing guests such as Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale to mid-America. In 1972, Bob Dylan wrote a letter to the INS defending Lennon, stating:

BOB DYLANJohn and Yoko add a great voice and drive to the country's so-called art institution. They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media. Hurray for John and Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country's got plenty of room and space. Let John and Yoko stay!

On 23 March 1973, Lennon was ordered to leave the US within 60 days. Ono, meanwhile, was granted permanent residence. In response, Lennon and Ono held a press conference on 1 April 1973 at the New York City Bar Association, where they announced the formation of the state of Nutopia; a place with "no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people". Waving the white flag of Nutopia (two handkerchiefs), they asked for political asylum in the US. The press conference was filmed, and appeared in a 2006 documentary, The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

Soon after the press conference, Nixon's involvement in a political scandal came to light, and in June the Watergate hearings began in Washington, DC. They led to the president's resignation 14 months later. In December 1974, when he and members of his tour entourage visited the White House, Harrison asked Gerald Ford, Nixon's successor, to intercede in the matter. Ford's administration showed little interest in continuing the battle against Lennon, and the deportation order was overturned in 1975. The following year, Lennon received his green card certifying his permanent residency, and when Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as president in January 1977, Lennon and Ono attended the Inaugural Ball.

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