NEW YORK (AP) — The renowned immigration lawyer, Leon Wildes, passed away at the age of 90 in his hometown of New York City. Wildes was widely known for his influential role in defending legendary musician and activist, John Lennon, during his deportation battle in the 1970s.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Wildes dedicated his career to advocating for individuals seeking immigration status in the United States. He founded the law firm of Wildes & Weinberg, which has represented numerous high-profile clients over the years. In addition to his work with Lennon, Wildes served as the immigration attorney for other notable figures such as former Miss Universe, Zhang Zilin, and renowned fashion designer, John Varvatos.
One of Wildes’ most significant cases was the defense of John Lennon in his widely-publicized deportation battle. Lennon, a former member of The Beatles, faced potential expulsion from the United States due to a conviction for a minor drug offense. Wildes, utilizing his expertise in immigration law, successfully argued for Lennon’s right to remain in the country, ultimately allowing him to remain in New York City with his wife, Yoko Ono, and pursue his music career.
Wildes’ impact extended beyond individual cases; he was instrumental in shaping immigration law in the United States. He played a key role in crafting the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished discriminatory quotas based on nationality and shifted the focus towards family reunification and employment-based visas. Wildes’ efforts in advocating for fair and inclusive immigration policies earned him recognition and respect within the legal community.
Throughout his long and illustrious career, Wildes remained committed to his clients and fought passionately for their rights. He believed in the power of diversity and the immense contributions immigrants make to American society. Wildes’ legacy will continue to resonate in the field of immigration law, as his groundbreaking work continues to inspire present and future advocates.
Leon Wildes, the prominent immigration lawyer who vigorously defended John Lennon against deportation, passed away at the age of 90 in New York City. Wildes’ storied career and his pivotal role in shaping immigration law within the United States will forever be remembered.