The new documentary "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" tells the story of Lennon's transformation from loveable moptop to antiwar activist, and recounts the facts about Richard Nixon's campaign to deport him in 1972 in an effort to silence him as a voice of the peace movement. [..]It opens Sept. 15 in Los Angeles and New York City, and nationwide on Sept. 29. The story of Nixon's attempt to deport Lennon is relevant today because deportation, and the larger issue of immigrants' political rights, has become a central problem in American politics.[..]
The story of Nixon versus Lennon ended, of course, with Nixon leaving the White House, and Lennon staying in the USA. But Lennon was not only world-famous; although he was a "foreigner," he was a white man from Britain. What if he had been a dark-skinned man from a Muslim country? The George W. Bush administration has gone far beyond Nixon in using immigration law to prevent critics of U.S. policy from entering the country, and to get rid of noncitizens whom the White House doesn't like.
[..](M)usicians and artists of all kinds seeking to visit the U.S. have faced immense new obstacles since Sept. 11. A new law, the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002, requires that people seeking to travel to the U.S. from one of seven countries appearing on a State Department list of "state sponsors of terrorism" undergo extra background checks. The result is not exactly censorship, because in the age of mechanical reproduction these artists' films and music can still be seen and heard here. Nevertheless, the crackdown does represent a form of politically motivated attack on artists the government considers undesirable for political reasons. Read on...