John Lennon, following the impact of “Give Peace a Chance” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, both strongly associated with the anti–Vietnam War movement, the Nixon administration, hearing rumors of Lennon’s involvement in a concert to be held in San Diego at the same time as the Republican National Convention, tried to have him deported. Nixon believed that Lennon’s anti-war activities could cost him his re-election.
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 on 8 October 1975.
On 23 March 1973, Lennon was ordered to leave the US within 60 days. 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. Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, showed little interest in continuing the battle against Lennon, and the deportation order was overturned in 1975. The following year, his US immigration status finally resolved, 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.