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US envoy to Haiti quits over ‘inhumane’ deportation of migrants

US envoy to Haiti quits over ‘inhumane’ deportation of migrants

dpa
Miami
Harshly criticising what he called the United States’ “inhumane” treatment of Haitian migrants and its policy toward Haiti, US special envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote has resigned, the US State Department confirmed on Thursday.
In a strongly worded resignation letter dated Wednesday, the veteran diplomat criticised the US decision to repatriate thousands of Haitians from the US-Mexico border over the past few days.
“I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the dangers posed by armed gangs in control of daily life,” Foote said.
He also lashed out at what he called “puppeteering” of Haitian politics by the US and other nations.
“Last week, the US and other embassies in Port-au-Prince issued another public statement of support by for the unelected, de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry as interim leader of Haiti, and have continued to tout his political agreement over another broader, earlier accord shepherded by civil society,” Foote said.
“The hubris that makes us believe we should pick the winner - again - is impressive. This cycle of international political interventions in Haiti has consistently produced catastrophic results. More negative impacts to Haiti will have calamitous consequences not only in Haiti, but in the US and our neighbors in the hemisphere.”
A senior State Department official commenting on the resignation said Foote “sought a broader mandate and oversight responsibilities, which we did not think was appropriate or prudent at the time. He shortly thereafter submitted his resignation.”
Foote, a veteran diplomat who had been deputy assistant secretary of state and was the former US ambassador to Zambia, was appointed special envoy to Haiti in July after the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Moise.
His resignation comes as Haiti finds itself wrestling with multiple crises - a proliferation of armed gangs, political volatility, low Covid-19 vaccination numbers and a humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of a deadly August earthquake.
There is also the Biden administration’s ongoing return of Haitian migrants from the US-Mexico border and its implication for a country struggling to recover from the 7.2 earthquake along its southern peninsula amid widening insecurity, spiking hunger and social and political tensions.
Since Sunday, 12 repatriation flights have left the United States and 1,401 Haitian nationals have been returned to Haiti. Another 3,206 Haitian nationals have been moved from a camp in Del Rio, Texas, to US Customs and Border Patrol custody or to other sectors of the United States border to either be expelled or placed into removal proceedings.
There are fewer than than 5,000 migrants in the Del Rio sector, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said.
The deportations from the camp, which held as many as 15,000 migrants at its peak, have sparked criticism of the Biden administration’s U.S. policy in Haiti. The outrage further grew after photos and video of border patrol agents on horseback wielding what appeared to be ropes or reins while chasing some of the Haitian migrants.
Shocked by the image, Vice President Kamala Harris described what she saw as “horrible” and acknowledged that more needs to be done to help stabilize Haiti and to understand it.

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