Daniel Foote quits in protest to Biden administration's deportation of Haitian refugees from US-Mexico border back to their home country.
The US special envoy to Haiti has resigned two months after his appointment, denouncing the Biden administration's deportation of Haitian refugees from the US-Mexico border back to their home country.
"I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti," State Department Special envoy Daniel Foote said in a scathing letter of resignation on Thursday.
In the letter to US Secretary of state Antony Blinken, Foote described Haiti as a place where US diplomats "are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life."
"Mired in poverty, hostage to the terror," Foote wrote, the Haitian population "simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy."
"More refugees will fuel further desperation and crime," he wrote.
SCOOP: Special Envoy for Haiti, Amb Daniel Foote, a career member of foreign service, has RESIGNED. In his letter of resignation, he says he will not be associated with the U.S.'s "inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees." Letter attached. pic.twitter.com/KlW5GoTF3u— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) September 23, 2021
Backlash over deportation of Haitians
The resignation came after the administration of President Joe Biden began last weekend loading Haitian refugees who crossed into the country from Mexico onto aircraft and flying them back to Haiti.
Foote’s sudden departure leaves a void in US policy toward Haiti and adds another prominent, critical voice to the administration’s response to Haitians camped on the Texas border.
The camp has shrunk considerably since surpassing more than 14,000 people on Saturday – many of them expelled and many released in the US with notices to report to immigration authorities.
The White House is facing sharp bipartisan condemnation. Democrats and many pro-immigration groups say efforts to expel thousands of Haitians without a chance to seek asylum violates American principles and their anger has been fueled by images that went viral this week of Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against the refugees.
The expulsion flights to Haiti began Sunday and there were 10 by the end of Tuesday, according to Haitian officials. US officials say they are ramping up to seven flights a day, which would mark one of the swiftest, large-scale expulsions from the US in decades.
Many of the thousands who crossed the border actually travelled from South America, where some said they fled to years ago from the grinding poverty of Haiti.
Foote served previously in Haiti as deputy chief of mission and is a former ambassador to Zambia. In the new role, he worked with the US ambassador to support Haiti after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.