Prince Harry's visa faces legal challenge in US court amidst controversy over drug disclosures

31 May 2023, 07:26

The validity of the Duke's US visa is being called into question
The validity of the Duke's US visa is being called into question. Picture: Getty
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The US government will appear in court next week to address inquiries regarding Prince Harry's visa application after he candidly discussed his past drug use in his tell-all memoir.

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Conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, has filed a case demanding the release of the Duke of Sussex's American visa application.

Despite a freedom of information request, the US government has thus far declined to disclose the requested documents.

On Tuesday, June 6, a federal judge in Washington will preside over the arguments presented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Heritage Foundation, determining whether officials should be compelled to make the Duke's immigration records accessible to the public.

This initial hearing is expected to be the first of several, with Judge Carl J Nichols, who was appointed to the court by Donald Trump, anticipated to issue a written statement at a later date.

Nile Gardiner, the director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, characterized the hearing as a "very significant development." He emphasized that the Biden administration has thus far been uncooperative with the freedom of information request, but ultimately, the matter will be resolved by a federal judge.

Earlier this year, an immigration expert stated that if Prince Harry failed to disclose his drug use, he should have been denied residency in the US and could face revocation if found to have provided false information.

US court to hear challenge over Duke of Sussex's visa following drug revelations
US court to hear challenge over Duke of Sussex's visa following drug revelations. Picture: Alamy

US immigration laws stipulate that individuals seeking temporary or permanent settlement in the country must disclose their history of drug use during the visa or residency application process. Those deemed "drug abusers" are classified as "inadmissible," although immigration officials can exercise discretion in certain cases.

In his autobiography, "Spare," and subsequent television interviews, Prince Harry openly admitted to using cocaine, cannabis, and magic mushrooms in the past. He also recounted consuming magic mushroom chocolates at a party in 2016, an act that is illegal in the US. The party took place at the Los Angeles home of Courtney Cox, known for her role in the television series "Friends."

The Duke of Sussex made the revelations in his book 'Spare'
The Duke of Sussex made the revelations in his book 'Spare'. Picture: Getty

Sources close to Prince Harry have previously suggested that he was truthful on his visa application and disclosed his past drug use. However, the Heritage Foundation argues that it is in the public interest for authorities to reveal the details of the Duke's application, any waivers granted, and the identity of the decision-maker.

"The American people deserve answers to the serious questions raised by the evidence. Did DHS, in fact, turn a blind eye, display favouritism, or fail to appropriately respond to any potential false statements by Prince Harry?" stated the think tank in a recent statement.

A source close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has previously affirmed that Prince Harry was truthful on his visa application. However, they did not provide further details regarding the extent to which his drug use was documented.

Mr Gardiner emphasized, "It's in the public interest for the American people to know exactly what was in Prince Harry's immigration application. And if he has nothing to hide, he should support the release of the records."

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