Releasing Prince Harry's immigration records risks opening a dangerous can of worms - analysis by Cameron Walker

Releasing Prince Harry's immigration records risks opening a dangerous can of worms - analysis by Cameron Walker

WATCH NOW: Prince Harry's drug confessions raise US visa application concerns

GB News
Cameron Walker

By Cameron Walker

Published: 23/02/2024

- 16:20

Updated: 23/02/2024

- 17:07

The Heritage Foundation is suing the Department of Homeland Security for refusing to release the Duke of Sussex's immigration records

If Prince Harry's immigration records are released, at least one person could find themself in very hot water.

Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for refusing to release Prince Harry's immigration records, following a freedom of information request.

The Heritage Foundation argues Harry's previous admission of drug use in his memoir would normally bar him from entering the United States.

In 'Spare', released in January 2023, the Duke of Sussex spoke of using marijuana, cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms.

Prince Harry

Prince Harry is set to have another day in court


Nile Gardiner, Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation said: "Given Prince Harry's extensive drug use admissions, normally disqualifying for entry into the United States, Americans deserve to know if Prince Harry lied on his application and DHS looked the other way or gave him otherwise preferential treatment".

In previous written court submissions, a DHS lawyer said: "Courts hold that a person's visa or immigration status is private, personal information exempt from disclosure."

Today, lawyers from both sides will argue their case in a Federal court in Washington D.C.

US immigration rules state that known drug use is grounds to reject visa applications; the forms specifically ask questions about the applicant's current and past drug use.

The Duke and Duchess of SussexHarry was open about his history with drugs in his memoir SparePA

If Prince Harry did not disclose that he had previously taken drugs on his US visa application, he could be accused of lying or making misrepresentations on his visa forms.

In a worst-case scenario for the prince, US authorities could take away his visa and expel him from the United States, quashing any hope of potentially becoming a citizen.

I suspect this is unlikely; would the US Government really want to be seen actively breaking up a high-profile, young family?

Remember, Prince Harry is the King's son with two young children and a loving wife of his own.

Booting him out of the United States might damage the UK / US so-called "special relationship", and would set a difficult precedent for high-profile recreational drug users seeking entry into the United States.

Nile Gardiner

Nile Gardiner is Director of The Heritage Foundation

GB News

There is no suggestion Prince Harry lied on his immigration forms, and it is not publicly known what type of US visa the King's son was granted.

Alternatively, here is where the Biden administration could find itself in more difficult territory.

In a different scenario, and Prince Harry did disclose his past drug use, the DHS either turned a blind eye, gave a 'prince of the realm' special treatment compared to ordinary citizens, or granted him a waiver.

Immigration lawyer, Stacy Cozart Martin, told the BBC last year that a waiver often requires a "pretty formal rehabilitation programme", regular checkups with a doctor, and at least a year without any drug use.

Although we don't know for sure, there is no indication Prince Harry is required to attend any such formal rehabilitation programme to keep his visa.

It is understood immigration officials can use their discretion when it comes to an individual's immigration status, and weigh up the positives and negatives of granting a visa.

Prince HarryA hearing is being held today over whether Harry's immigration documents should be made publicGetty

Has Prince Harry, for example, boosted the U.S. economy with his Netflix deal or as Chief Impact Officer at mental health startup BetterUp?

All of this could have been taken into consideration by immigration officials.

This position, however, could lead the United States Government to be accused of unfairness by ignoring the prince's past drug use, when 'Mr Joe Public' would likely have his visa refused.

The DHS believes Prince Harry has a right to keep his immigration records private.

If the judge agrees, will The Heritage Foundation accept the government's alleged secrecy?

If the judge disagrees, and Harry's immigration records are released, this could open a whole can of worms.

Prince Harry's office has been contacted for comment.

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