Biden’s Envoy to Haiti Resigns Over ‘Inhumane’ Deportations

Daniel Foote cited the federal government’s “deeply flawed” treatment of the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Damage from the Aug. 14 earthquake in Jérémie, Haiti. (USAID, Wikimedia Commons)

By Kenny Stancil
Common Dreams

In a blistering resignation letter submitted Wednesday, the United States Special Envoy to Haiti quit in protest over the federal government’s “deeply flawed” treatment of the impoverished Caribbean nation, including the Biden administration’s recent escalation of deportations and its continuation of a longstanding pattern of political intervention.

Daniel Lewis Foote. (U.S. State Department)

“I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees,” Daniel Foote — appointed just two months ago by President Joe Biden — wrote in a letter (pdf) sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In the aftermath of last month’s disastrous earthquake and tropical storm, which came amid the Covid-19 pandemic and in the wake of an ongoing political-economic crisis that includes the July  assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse, Haiti lacks the capacity to absorb the forced return of thousands of migrants “lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy,” Foote continued.

The White House’s move to ramp up deportations at this time of overlapping crises, he wrote, will “add to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.”    

As Jake Johnston, senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), wrote Thursday for CEPR’s “Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch” blog:

“The resignation comes as the Biden administration pushes forward with one of the largest mass expulsions of asylum seekers in decades. At least 12 flights have transported an estimated 1,400 individuals from Texas to Haiti in the past four days, and such flights are expected to nearly double throughout the week. The Biden administration has pledged to totally close the Del Rio, Texas border camp, where some 14,000 people had gathered last week hoping to apply for asylum in the United States. Though the administration has stated it is prioritizing single adults for deportation, flight manifests show that a significant portion of those sent to Haiti are families with young children.”

Several human rights groups and Democratic lawmakers have condemned the mass expulsion and cruel crackdown on Haitian refugees at the southern border, which has included border patrol agents on horseback charging at individuals and wielding their reins as whips.

Johnston pointed out that Foote “did not just have harsh words for the administration’s immigration policy, however.” Writing that his “recommendations have been ignored and dismissed” or misrepresented by senior officials, Foote rebuked the U.S. for what he called its “deeply flawed” policy approach toward Haiti.

U.S. policy in Haiti, the former special envoy argued, is deeply connected to the human rights abuses unfolding on the island and at the southern border.

While Haiti needs humanitarian assistance, he wrote, “what our Haitian friends really want, and need, is the opportunity to chart their own course, without international puppeteering and favored candidates but with genuine support for that course. I do not believe that Haiti can enjoy stability until her citizens have the dignity of truly choosing their own leaders fairly and acceptably.”

According to CEPR’s Johnston:

“From undermining Haitian farmers with cheap food imports to overturning election results and helping to overthrow governments, the U.S. bears significant responsibility for the conditions in Haiti that so many are seeking to flee. As Brian Concannon, the director of Project Blueprint, wrote in The Miami Herald, ‘The United States has been destabilizing Haiti — and generating refugees — since the country emerged from a slave revolt in 1804 into a world run by slaveholding countries that felt threatened by the example of successful, self-emancipated Black people.’ “

Foote, for his part, expressed dismay that the Biden administration has chosen to replicate past mistakes.

“Last week,” wrote Foote, “the U.S. and other embassies in Port-au-Prince issued another public statement of support… for the unelected, de facto Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry as interim leader of Haiti, and have continued to tout his ‘political agreement’ over another broader, earlier accord shepherded by civil society.”

“The hubris that makes us believe we should pick the winner — again — is impressive,” Foote added. “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 U.S. and our neighbors in the hemisphere.”

This article is from  Common Dreams.


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6 comments for “Biden’s Envoy to Haiti Resigns Over ‘Inhumane’ Deportations

  1. Zhu
    September 26, 2021 at 18:51

    Biden’s been a closet right-winger for the last 40 years. Now he’s out of the closet.

  2. John O'Callaghan
    September 25, 2021 at 21:53

    What a rare discovery indeed, why it’s like discovering a long lost treasure or a cure for cancer or finding a planet with alien life on it….. a member of the US Federal Government with scruples, compassion and empathy for the suffering torture and exploitation of an oppressed people by the most evil war mongering Governments on the planet.

    Congratulations to Mr Foote for being a gem among a sea of scum! ……

  3. Hide Behind
    September 25, 2021 at 17:12

    I have wondered if Haiti could ever become a self governing nation due to the many many generations of exploitation and deliberate dehumanizing economic slavery.
    Generations of only those favored by the chosen get an education, and they do not attain it there but in US and European schools.
    It has not been just in political realms where who succeeded and who does not, thebgovernment under US pressures has long sought out any domestic enterprises that threatens to allow independence of labor and crushed the or took ownership of and the killings of any who object was the norm.
    Nuff general bs, Hillary Clinto n s. Connections when she was STSATE and Haiti destroyed got her relatives partial ownership of the greatest chance to build wealth in Haiti was the control of richest knowbgold and other rare earth mplus in America’s
    CLINTON FOUNDATION WITH Bush the mouse took in an estimated. Just under 200,000,000 (millions USD) donations for Haitian hurricane relief and only spent a little over 60 millions.
    20 millions did not go to any Hatians it went to over 80 NGOs non profits and rebuilding as another branch of Clinton Charities partnership s of joint oceanside condo and b luxury homes on Beach..over 100,000,000 millions donated for Hatisansnby worl populace disappeared.
    Go back in time when Southern owned garment industry used Haitian labor as threats to their southern labor force. Eventually wiping out US armed firms by moving everything from cotton to mil equip to deliver wage Haitians.
    The amounts of death by medical starvation and poor health by US owners who stuck a black face as leader is damn near genocide.
    If there be evil then the people who exploited b and still exploit Haiti are that evil.

  4. Andrew Thomas
    September 24, 2021 at 21:44

    This is something: an actual principled resignation. I am shocked and very happy. I don’t know how this mensch managed to get appointed to the position in the first place, given his integrity, which is not in high demand for such positions. But, what a blast of fresh air. Congratulations to him and his parents. They raised one heck of a son.

    • mgr
      September 25, 2021 at 09:25

      Indeed. An authentic example of speaking truth to power. And also, a pulling back the curtain on the window-dressing that usually passes for statements over US policies and actions, especially from government officials, i.e. Mr. Blinken.

      • James Simpson
        September 26, 2021 at 02:37

        Like all instances of speaking truth to power, it will make not the slightest difference to the USA’s cruelty towards the millions of poor people it keeps poor. Liberals love speaking truth to power. It makes them feel righteous and gives them an excuse not to do what socialists know has to be done: the people themselves taking power away from the wealthy and privileged… such as those liberals.

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