The Biden administration’s special envoy to Haiti resigned on Thursday in protest of the administration’s “inhumane” mass deportations of Haitian migrants, The Associated Press reports.
Longtime diplomat Daniel Foote, who was appointed by President Joe Biden in July after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, stepped down over the administration’s crack down on an influx of Haitian migrants in Texas.
Foote said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that his departure comes with “deep disappointment and apologies to those seeking crucial changes.”
“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 danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” Foote said.
“Our policy approach to Haiti remains deeply flawed, and my policy recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own,” he added.
State Department criticizes:
The State Department criticized Foote for stepping down during a critical point.
“This is a challenging moment that requires leadership,” spokesman Ned Price said. “It is unfortunate that, instead of participating in a solutions-oriented policy process, Special Envoy Foote has both resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation.”
Price said that Foote’s role was to advise the president.
“No ideas are ignored, but not all ideas are good ideas,” Price said.
Foote’s departure comes as the US Ambassador to Haiti, Michele Sison, is set to leave after being nominated to another State Department position.
Haitian official praises Foote:
“This is the first time we see a U.S. diplomat who has decided to go against the will of the U.S. government,” Haiti election minister Mathias Pierre told the AP. “We salute that.”
Pierre said that the country relies heavily on migrants in other countries because 35% of the country’s GDP is from remittances, mostly from the United States. He also criticized the US for ignoring the plight of Haitians despite their close proximity to the US.
“While they’re receiving (thousands) of Afghan people, they’re rejecting Haitians while Haiti is in the middle of a crisis: a crisis with the earthquake, a crisis with the assassination of the president and a poverty crisis that is clearly one of the major issues why people are leaving,” Pierre said.