Attorneys for the Washington-based Heritage Foundation are seeking release of the records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
“This is clearly a case of Lord Harry,” Samuel Dewey, an attorney for the Heritage Foundation, told the hearing. “But it’s really about DHS and its compliance with the law.”
The 38-year-old Harry was not in court – he was at London’s High Court on Tuesday complaining about the “incredibly invasive” media coverage he has experienced from the British press.
Youngest son of the King of England Charles III accused Koran Mirror Group — publisher of the tabloids The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People — of illegal information gathering, including phone hacking.
Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, an American citizen, moved to the United States in January 2020 after leaving their royal duties.
In a complaint heard in US District Court, the Heritage Foundation noted that Harry “has publicly acknowledged significant elements of a number of drug offenses both in the United States and abroad.”
“United States law generally makes it unacceptable for such persons to enter the United States,” the complaint said.
In his book “Spare”, Harry admits to experimenting with drugs including marijuana, cocaine and psychedelics.
In arguing for the release of Harry’s immigration files, the Heritage Foundation said there was “widespread public and press interest” in the case.
The Heritage Foundation notes that other celebrities such as the late soccer star Maradona and the late singer Amy Winehouse have been denied entry to the United States because of past drug use.
In its response, the government said that while “there may be a public interest in the footage being sought”, it does not currently believe there is an urgent need to release the footage.
Two branches of DHS had previously refused to release the prince’s immigration files without his consent.
Applicants for visas to the United States are asked about their past drug use and may be barred from entry, although exceptions and waivers may be granted.
Judge Carl Nichols gave DHS until June 13 to respond to the request for records.