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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 22, 2024: Prince Harry, once again, finds himself thrust into the spotlight, this time facing a legal battle over his US visa status. The controversy stems from revelations in his memoir, where he openly discussed his past experimentation with drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, magic mushrooms, and ayahuasca.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) attend Invictus Games Vancouver Whistlers 2025’s One Year To Go Winter Training Camp on February 15, 2024 in Whistler, British Columbia. (Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)

The Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), is facing pressure to disclose whether Prince Harry disclosed this information on his immigration forms from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization. The lawsuit will be heard in federal court in D.C. before Judge Carl J. Nichols. It has left many questioning the integrity of the immigration system and the treatment of high-profile individuals.

The Heritage Foundation says it wants to uncover the truth behind Prince Harry’s visa application. Their argument is straightforward: either Prince Harry concealed his drug use, potentially receiving preferential treatment, or he disclosed it, raising questions about why he was granted a visa despite his admission.

At the heart of this legal dispute lies the question of whether Prince Harry received special treatment during the visa application process. The Heritage Foundation contends that the American public has a right to know whether DHS officials afforded Prince Harry preferential treatment, especially given his status as a public figure. However, the DHS maintains that Prince Harry’s visa status is private information exempt from disclosure, raising concerns about government transparency and accountability.

U.S. immigration authorities take a firm stance against drug-related activities due to their potential impact on public health and safety. The visa application forms, such as Form DS-260 for immigrant visa applicants, explicitly ask about any history of drug use or drug-related offenses. Chapter 8 of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Policy Manual on Drug Abuse or Drug Addiction clearly states: “Applicants who are found to be drug abusers or addicts are inadmissible. Drug abuse and drug addiction are current substance-use disorders or substance-induced disorders of a controlled substance listed in Section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association or by another authoritative source as determined by the Director.”

When applying to live in the United States, applicants have to tick “yes” or “no” to the question “Are you or have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?”.

As the court prepares to hear arguments from both sides, the implications for Prince Harry’s visa status and future plans remain uncertain. The outcome of this case could potentially jeopardize Prince Harry’s residency in the United States and impact his aspirations for American citizenship.

Moreover, it sheds light on broader issues within the immigration system, including the treatment of high-profile individuals and the need for greater transparency and oversight.

Regardless of the court’s ruling, the controversy surrounding Prince Harry’s US visa status underscores the need for reform within the immigration system.

Transparency, fairness, and accountability must be prioritized to ensure that ALL immigration applicants are treated equally under the law. As the legal battle unfolds, it serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by both applicants and immigration authorities in navigating the complexities of the immigration process.

It is imperative that these issues are addressed to uphold the integrity of the immigration process and ensure equal treatment for all individuals, regardless of their status or background.

Judge Nichols will release a written ruling within weeks of the hearing this Friday.

Felicia J. Persaud is the publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com, a daily news outlet focusing on Black immigrant issues.

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