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US Border guards could deny Prince Harry reentry into the United States due to his admitted drug use

By Ben Marquis
|
June 1, 2023

Under U.S. immigration laws, the admission of illicit drug use by a foreigner is sufficient grounds for the denial of a visa application or revocation of an existing visa granting lawful entry into the country and can result in barred entry or deportation.

That could pose a problem for the United Kingdom's Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who could find himself blocked from re-entering the U.S. due to his own admissions of repeated illicit drug use in the distant and recent past, according to the Daily Mail.

Likewise, Harry's admissions to illicit drug use could become an embarrassing headache for the Biden administration if it is found that he was granted special treatment and allowed entry when other less-famous foreign visa applicants would have been denied entry for such admitted drug use.

FOIA Lawsuit Filed Over Prince Harry's Immigration Status

CBS News reported that the conservative Heritage Foundation has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security after a prior FOIA request seeking information about Prince Harry's visa applications and visa status was allegedly improperly denied.

The lawsuit is intended to "compel the production of information" in relation to the decision to grant the Duke entry "and to allow him to remain to date" in the U.S. and asserted that there is "widespread public and press interest on the specific issue of whether DHS acted, and is acting, appropriately as regards the Duke of Sussex."

"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," the 55-page lawsuit stated. "United States law generally renders such a person inadmissible for entry into the United States."

"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 complaint continued.

The Heritage Foundation added, "Finally, the media coverage has 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 both here and abroad in his 2023 memoir, Spare."

Prince Harry's Admitted Illicit Drug Use

In his recently released memoir Spare, Prince Harry made numerous references to and shared multiple descriptions of his illicit drug use over the years, from when he was a teenager living in the U.K. and on trips to Africa to his time more recently as an adult living in the U.S.

That includes habitual use of marijuana, occasional use of cocaine, and both recreational and therapeutic use of hallucinogens and psychedelics like ayahuasca and mushrooms.

The Duke also spoke freely of his illicit drug use in a recent tell-all interview with Dr. Gabor Maté, a therapist who openly supports the decriminalization of illicit drugs and advocates for their therapeutic use to deal with physical and mental ailments.

All of that and more, as well as dozens of examples of public interest via media reports on the matter, were included in the lawsuit to bolster the argument that DHS should release the requested records with regard to Harry's visa applications.

The suit also accused DHS of multiple violations of FOIA laws, including failure to conduct an adequate records search, the wrongful withholding of non-exempt records, the wrongful denial of fee waivers, and the wrongful denial of expedited processing of the request.

Lawsuit Aimed At "Transparency and Accountability"

"Formal admissions of cocaine use, without exceptional circumstances, will likely prevent Harry from ever becoming a green card holder or US citizen," immigration attorney Kaitlin Davies told the Daily Mail. "While the admissions in his book would not be 'formal,' an interviewing officer could make them formal by questioning him, in a particular manner, on his claims of drug use."

The outlet noted that Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation has stated that the lawsuit is about "transparency and accountability" and said, "There is a very clear U.S. public interest in ensuring Harry did not receive any favorable or preferential treatment by the immigration authorities."

"Any discrepancy between the details provided in his immigration application and the revelations of drug use in Spare would have serious implications for his legal status in the United States," he added. "Harry should welcome the release of his immigration application so the public can see what was put in the application."

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for June 6 before a federal judge in a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.