A Conservative think tank has accused the Biden administration of attempting to “stonewall” a request for information regarding Prince Harry’s visa application.
A decision regarding Prince Harry’s visa records has prompted a fierce backlash against US President Joe Biden after critics of the former working royal called for the details to be released. Members of the Conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, who mounted a campaign calling for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release the Prince’s responses to questions in his application, were halted this week as officials denied their request. Lawyers for the organisation have outlined plans to contest the move after accusing the President’s administration of an “appalling lack of transparency”.
Jimmy Wolfrey, senior director of the DHS, rejected the think tank’s request in a written letter obtained by the New York Post. He said his office did not “find a public interest” in disclosure that was significant enough to “override the subject’s privacy interests”. The Heritage Foundation has campaigned for the department to disclose how the Duke of Sussex responded to questions on his visa applications regarding drug use. The Prince admitted to having taken psychedelic mushrooms, cocaine and marijuana in his smash-hit biography ‘Spare’.
Admissions of drug abuse can become significant hurdles for those seeking to settle in the US, and the think tank argued they make Prince Harry ineligible for a visa. The foundation sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the DHS on March 8 this year, and the department notified representatives of its response on Tuesday, June 15. The CHP, US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Office of Biometric Identity Management also rejected the request. Speaking following the notification, Heritage lawyer Samuel Dewey said the decision from the DHS showed an “appalling lack of transparency”.
He said: “The Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to stonewall the Heritage Foundation’s Freedom of Information request are unacceptable, and we will be contesting their position. “We expected to have to fight every step of this case in federal court and will continue to press for transparency and accountability for the American people.” Prince Harry moved with his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to Montecito, California, in February 2020. While he is eligible for several different types of visa, his current status is unknown.