The U.S Special Envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote has resigned over what he calls the “inhumane” deportations of Haitians from the Southern border. In his resignation letter Foote said, “I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti.”
Foote slammed the decision made by the Biden administration as “deeply flawed”, revealing that his “recommendations have been ignored and dismissed” because they failed to “fit a narrative different from my own.” He goes on to warn that the Haitian government “simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned immigrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy.”
Haiti has been crisis stricken in recent months following the assassination of the country’s president, as well as the devastation wrought by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. And with the country’s streets still run by criminal gangs much of the population faces violence on a daily basis.
The Biden administration has struggled to handle the numbers of Haitians arriving at the southern border, coming under fire from both sides of the isle. Department of Homeland Security officials have started pooling resources in an attempt to deal with the impromptu camp set up at Del Rio, Texas. So far, the United States have deported more than 1,400 migrants back to Haiti and moved a further 3,200 people away from the camp to be processed. At the camps peak on September 18th there was an estimated 15,000 people there, two thirds of which were families.
The State Departments spokesman Ned Price rejected Foote’s scathing criticism. “This is a challenging moment that requires leadership. It is unfortunate that, instead of participating in a solutions-orientated policy process, Special Envoy Foote has both reigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation.” Price continued, “He failed to take advantage of ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure and choose to resign instead.”
However, Foote’s decision to resign has been applauded by rights groups, with William O’Neill, a lawyer specialising in humanitarian, human rights and refugee law calling his decision “A big bold move. And a big deal.” Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called Foote’s resignation “an honourable thing” during an MSNBC interview, saying that “We should be opening our arms to folks who are in crisis.”