Prince Harry won’t be deported under Biden, US ambassador says

The Duke of Sussex admitted taking cocaine in his book Spare
The Duke of Sussex admitted taking cocaine in his book Spare - YAROSLAV SABITOV/PA

Pressure on the US government to release the Duke of Sussex’s visa records has intensified after campaigners seized on comments made by the American ambassador to London that Harry would not be deported while Joe Biden was president.

The conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington DC, which has gone to court to seek the release of the file, has submitted the remarks made by Jane Hartley as part of their case.

The group has been pushing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to open the dossier on Prince Harry under America’s Freedom of Information laws.

After he admitted taking cocaine in his book Spare, he faced questions over how he had been able to move to the US, where admitting drug use can block a visa application.

Asked about the current position regarding the possibility of the Prince being deported in an interview on Sky News on March 25, Ms Hartley replied “Well it’s not going to happen in the Biden administration.”

Her remarks were described as “extraordinary“ by the Heritage Foundation.

In its court filing, the foundation maintained the DHS had said none of the information could be released “without acknowledging what Prince Harry’s immigration status is or tipping our hand as to what it is.”

Public admission

However, the foundation said, Ms Hartley had spoken publicly about some of the information which it wanted to make public.

“Ambassador Hartley categorically stated that the Duke of Sussex will not be deported by the Biden Administration.

“Thus, the Executive Branch has now categorically stated that, regardless of future circumstances, they will decline to deport the Duke of Sussex – even in the most extreme of cases.”

Her remarks, it added, “dramatically enhance the already compelling public interest in disclosure.”

By speaking publicly. Ms Hartley had effectively repudiated the Biden administration’s case for refusing to release the information.

“Ambassador Hartley’s statement cannot be dismissed as uninformed or idle polite speculation or conversational puffery,” it added.

She was speaking in her official capacity in the interview.

“Ambassador Hartley knew full well that the question had media and political salience, and yet she still spoke directly to the issues being litigated in this case by answering the question,” it said.

So far the Biden administration has refused to make the Duke’s application public.

Awaiting judge’s ruling

The DHS said: “Courts consistently hold that a person’s visa or immigration status is private, personal information exempt from disclosure.”

Judge Carl Nichols, who is presiding over the case in Washington DC, has yet to make a ruling.

The Duke’s status in the US has been called into question after he admitted in his memoir Spare, which was published after he moved to America in 2020, that he had taken drugs in the past.

They included marijuana, cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms.

Under US law, anyone classed as a “drug abuser” is in danger of being deemed “inadmissible” to the United States.

Celebrities, including Nigella Lawson, have been banned from the US after admitting to taking drugs.

Although previous drug use does not automatically mean immigrants will be banned from the US, they are legally obliged to declare whether they have done so on their visa application.

Failure to do so, or lying on the application can lead to deportation.

Prince Harry’s US residency has become a political issue with Donald Trump refusing to rule out deporting him if he became president.

Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, told the Telegraph that her remarks strengthened its case for the file to be made public.

“The US Ambassador to London speaks directly on behalf of the president of the United States. It is extraordinary that she has chosen to comment on an ongoing federal court case.”

“This raises major questions as to why the Biden administration is going to such great lengths to prevent the release of Prince Harry’s immigration records. They should release the records to the American people immediately.”

The Telegraph has approached the White House for comment.