A Conservative Group Is Trying to Get Prince Harry’s Drug-Related Immigration Records Released

Bianca Echa

A Conservative Group Is Trying to Get Prince Harry’s Drug-Related Immigration Records Released

A federal court on Friday will hear a lawsuit brought by the conservative Heritage Foundation against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain the immigration records of Prince Harry, who has lived in the U.S. since 2020, over concerns about his admitted use of illegal drugs.

In suing the DHS, the Heritage Foundation is seeking clarity on whether proper protocols were followed in granting the Duke of Sussex entry into the U.S. The move comes in the wake of revelations from Harry’s memoir Spare, where he candidly discusses his past drug use, including cocaine, marijuana, and magic mushrooms. The Heritage Foundation contends that such admissions raise serious questions about the prince’s eligibility for a U.S. visa under immigration law.

Although critics have dismissed the lawsuit as political theater, the Heritage Foundation has said that the public should understand the circumstances surrounding Harry’s admission into the country. “Given 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,” Nile Gardiner, director of the foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, wrote in a media advisory Thursday.

The Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank in Washington, had previously filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Harry’s immigration file. DHS denied the request in June and has asked for the case to be thrown out, asserting that immigration records are usually exempt from FOIA.

“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,” the foundation stated in its lawsuit.

Harry, who now lives with his American wife Meghan Markle and two children in Southern California, likely entered the U.S. on either a spousal visa or an O-1 visa, which are reserved for individuals with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.” However, the Heritage Foundation has argued that even if Harry was eligible for these visas, his history of drug use could have posed a barrier to his admission.

The U.S. typically asks about drug use on visa applications, which has caused travel complications for other public figures, but admitting to past drug consumption doesn’t automatically prevent individuals from entering or remaining in the country, especially if the applicant is in remission.

TIME has reached out to Harry’s representatives.

Asked recently by Good Morning America if he has thought about becoming a U.S. citizen, he said that “American citizenship is a thought that has crossed my mind but isn’t something that’s a high priority for me right now.”

The Duke of Sussex wrote in his memoir, released in January 2023, that he first did cocaine at the age of 17 and has used it sparingly since. “It wasn’t much fun, and it didn’t make me particularly happy, as it seemed to make everyone around me, but it did make me feel different, and that was the main goal,” he wrote.

Harry also admitted to using marijuana and mushrooms to deal with emotional challenges and the pressures of royal life, describing himself as a “deeply unhappy 17-year-old boy willing to try almost anything that would alter the status quo.” He told Oprah in 2021 that he would drink and use drugs to numb the pain of his mother Princess Diana’s death. “I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs,” he said. “I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.”


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