April 21, 2023
Could Prince Harry’s history of drug use undermine his US visa?
Prince Harry's memoir Spare sold nearly 1.5 million copies worldwide
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, shared in his memoir ‘Spare’ his drug use.
He first tried cocaine at 17 years old and has used it infrequently since, but it is the drugs marijuana and mushrooms the Duke later used more frequently to help him deal with traumas.
In an interview with Gabor Maté, a Canadian physician and author, he said: “It is one of the fundamental parts of my life that changed me and helped me deal with the traumas and pains of the past.”
Harry mentioned how his mother Princess Diana’s death in 1997, when he was just 12 years old, deeply affected him, along with the alleged treatment he and his wife, Meghan Markle, had to deal with by the Royal family. Adding that as a now father of two, it makes him want to “smother them with love and affection”.
On the backlash of his vulnerability, especially from his family, he told Gabor: “The more they criticise, the more they comment, the more I feel the need to share. I found a way to be able to look around, and firstly ignore the criticisms and the abuse.”
After his drug use revelation, US-based conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, which aims on ‘returning power to the people’, requested Prince Harry’s visa application records be released to understand whether immigration officials knew about Harry’s drug use.
According to The Mirror, The US State Department responded to its calls by saying: “Visa records are confidential under Section 222 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); therefore, we cannot discuss the details of the individual cases”.
Despite the information about Prince Harry’s visa application being kept confidential, it is understood that he either holds an O-1 visa, which is given to individuals with ‘extraordinary abilities’ in domains, such as sciences, arts, sports, education, business; or a K-3 visa, which is a spousal visa.
Questions of whether his history of drug use was disclosed on his application could undermine his visa result. US immigration law has harsh penalties for lying to immigration officials, including deportation and being barred from applying for citizenship.
A close source to Harry has revealed to The Telegraph that he responded truthfully, suggesting he had provided information on the topic in applying for a visa to live and work in the US, answering a series of questions such as – ‘Are you or have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?’
The Heritage Foundation is still awaiting the response from US immigration authorities to understand how Prince Harry was able to receive a visa if he did indeed reveal this information. The think-tank among others have called out Prince Harry and immigration officials on this, with representatives telling The Daily Mail that the Duke either “lied” on his application or was possibly given ”special treatment”.
Nile Gardiner, a director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, said “this is a much bigger issue than Prince Harry. It is about enforcing immigration law and ensuring that no one is above the law. Prince Harry is simply the tip of the iceberg.”
Political talk concerning immigration statuses is at its peak with the upcoming 2024 presidential elections. Prince Harry’s case seemed to have sparked these conversations further.
Mr Samuel Dewey, a lawyer for The Heritage Foundation, pointed out to The Daily Mail, that “there is a danger he could become an unwitting pawn in an issue which has become a political hot potato” – referring to the immigration issue in the US. This has become a hot topic due to Republicans especially, but also Democrats and human rights activists, attacking the Biden Administration for “open-border policies”.