US envoy resigns due to deportations and calls Biden’s coverage flawed
Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Cartels and the U.S. Heroin Epidemic on Capitol Hill May 26, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
The Biden government’s special envoy for Haiti has resigned to protest against “inhuman” large-scale displacement of Haitian migrants to their homeland, which has been ravaged by civil unrest and natural disasters, US officials said Thursday.
Daniel Foote was only appointed to this position in July after the Haitian President was assassinated. Even before the migrants were deported from the small Texan border town of Del Rio, the professional diplomat was deeply frustrated by what he saw as the lack of urgency in Washington and the icy pace of efforts to improve conditions in Haiti.
Foote wrote to Foreign Minister Antony Blinken that he would resign immediately, “with deep disappointment and apologies to those who seek decisive changes”.
“I will not be associated with the inhumane, counter-productive decision by the United States to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are safe because of the threat that armed gangs pose to daily life Land is restricted, “he said wrote. “Our political approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed and my policy recommendations have been ignored and rejected if not edited to project a different narrative than mine.”
Two US officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed the resignation on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
An official who was not empowered to speak publicly on personnel matters and who spoke on condition of anonymity said Foote had consistently sought better control of Haiti politics and the administration did not consider his demands reasonable.
Foote’s sudden departure leaves a void in US policy on Haiti and adds another prominent, critical voice to the government’s response to Haitians encamped on the Texas border. U.S. government ambassador Michele Sison, another professional diplomat, is expected to leave soon after his appointment as assistant secretary for international organizations at the State Department.
The camp has shrunk significantly since there were more than 14,000 people on Saturday – many of whom have been expelled and many released in the US with notices to immigration authorities.
The White House faces stiff bipartisan condemnation. Democrats and many pro-immigrant groups say efforts to evict thousands of Haitians without a chance for asylum are against American principles, and their anger was fueled by images that went viral this week of border guards on horseback using aggressive tactics against the migrants use.
The eviction flights to Haiti began on Sunday and were already ten by the end of Tuesday, according to Haitian officials. US officials say they are ramping up to seven flights a day, which would mean one of the fastest, large-scale evictions from the US in decades.
Foote previously served as deputy head of mission in Haiti and is a former ambassador to Zambia. In his new role, he worked with the US Ambassador to assist Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
For weeks in Washington he had been quietly promoting a plan to increase US security aid to Haiti in order to pave the way for presidential elections. However, Haiti observers said he was increasingly disappointed with the pace of decision-making in the administration.
“When someone in charge of Haiti policy at the highest level resigns because ‘recommendations are being ignored and rejected’, it is not only worrying, but it shows you that this government does not tolerate anyone who does not agree with its distorted view of the world “Said Damian Merlo, a Republican strategist who has worked on Haiti politics for years and is now a registered lobbyist for the country’s government.” Dan Foote is a world-class diplomat who refuses to do anything is. I wish more foreign service officers had the courage to stand up and call their bosses. “