A right-wing think tank with close ties to former president Donald Trump wants a federal court to order the public release of Prince Harry’s immigration records because they believe his past admissions of drug use make him ineligible to enter the United States.
The Heritage Foundation on Monday filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, just over a month after the group made a Freedom of Information Act request for information on how the Duke of Sussex was admitted into the US when he and his wife, American ex-actress Meghan Markle, decamped there after leaving the UK in 2020.
Although immigration records are generally exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act because of strict privacy laws governing the handling of personal information, the pro-Trump group argues that Harry, whose full legal name is Henry Charles Albert David George Mountbatten-Windsor, should not be afforded the same protections because of the “immense public interest” in his current status.
At issue for the right-wing think tank is the Duke’s past admissions of drug use, which under many circumstances would render him inadmissible into the US. In his bestselling memoir, Spare, Harry describes in detail his drug use, including one experience with hallucinogenic mushrooms.
He writes that he first took cocaine at the age of 17 and used it sparringly since then but has said that his use of marijuana and mushrooms helped him deal with past trauma.
“Widespread and continuous media coverage has surfaced the question of whether DHS properly admitted the Duke of Sussex in light of the fact that he has publicly admitted to the essential elements of a number of drug offenses in both the United States and abroad ... Intense media coverage has also surfaced the question of whether DHS may have improperly granted the Duke of Sussex a waiver to enter the Country on a non-immigrant visa given his history of admissions to the essential elements of drug offenses,” the group said in its’ lawsuit.
The Heritage Foundation added that “media coverage” of its’ previous Freedom of Information request has supposedly “surfaced the question of whether DHS’ decision to admit the Duke of Sussex into the United States should be reconsidered in light of the Duke of Sussex’s most recent admissions to the essential elements of numerous drug offenses”.
The group is framing its’ demand for information as part of an effort to shed light on whether the Biden administration is properly enforcing US immigration law.
It’s unclear what kind of visa Harry obtained before he and his wife moved to California in 2020. He is believed to hold either a spousal visa tied to his wife, who is an American citizen by birth, or a visa known as an O-1, which is usually granted to people possessing an “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics” or a record of extraordinary achievement in film or television.