Heritage Foundation seeks Prince Harry’s immigration records over drug use

The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank, has called for the release of Prince Harry’s immigration records in light of his past drug use revelations in his memoir, Spare. The organisation has appealed to US District Judge Carl Nichols for a faster response to a records request, which the US government has currently deemed private. Judge Nichols advised the foundation and the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the speed of the response and stated he would make a ruling if an agreement could not be reached independently.

Prince Harry relocated to Southern California with his wife Meghan Markle and their children in 2020 after stepping back from royal duties. In his memoir, he disclosed his past drug use, including taking cocaine several times from around the age of 17, as well as using cannabis and magic mushrooms. The US regularly asks about drug use on its visa applications, which has caused issues for several celebrities, such as Nigella Lawson, Amy Winehouse, and Pete Doherty. However, acknowledging past drug use does not necessarily prevent individuals from entering or staying in the country.

The Heritage Foundation submitted a public information request to the Department of Homeland Security for Prince Harry’s immigration records, arguing that there is “intense public interest” in whether the prince received special treatment during his application process. The conservative think tank also connected these questions to broader immigration issues in the US, such as those related to the southern border with Mexico. The request has been mostly denied, as the group does not have Prince Harry’s permission to obtain the private information.

John Bardo, an attorney for the Department of Homeland Security, stated, “A person’s visa status is confidential.” The agency’s policy allows the release of information about issues of public interest, but it argued that media coverage connecting Harry’s drug use to his visa status in the US has not been widespread among mainstream American publications.

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Dr Nile Gardiner from the Heritage Foundation told Sky News’s US correspondent Mark Stone, “This case is all about the enforcement of US Immigration Law and certainly Prince Harry is one of the most high profile figures, one of the most well-known figures in the world right now including here in the United States.” He added, “But at the end of the day, this is about accountability and transparency and openness on the part of the US administration, with regard to an immigration application by a high-profile individual.”

Gardiner emphasised that there is a US public interest in the matter, stating, “But without a doubt, I think that a key factor here has been Prince Harry’s memoir Spare and his revelations about his own drug use; he’s put it all out there.” He continued, “Let’s see whether that exactly matches what he put on his immigration application. Because if it doesn’t, that’s perjury, that’s a criminal offence, actually, and everyone should be held to account before the law. No one should be treated any differently.”

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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