President Joe Biden’s special envoy to Haiti resigned his position over what he called the “inhumane” deportation of Haitian migrants from the southern border. Daniel Foote, a career diplomat, had just been appointed to the position in July after the assassination of the Haitian president plunged the country into chaos. He wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he was leaving his post immediately.
According to the Associated Press, Foote’s frustration with the White House over its handling of the situation in Haiti began almost from the moment he took the job. The burgeoning crisis in the Texas border town of Del Rio, which has led to thousands of Haitians being deported, reportedly pushed him to the breaking point.
Sources within the Biden Administration said Foote’s issued went beyond frustration over what he felt was a lack of urgency to provide aid to Haiti. He had been asking for more security to help provide structure for presidential elections to be held, but felt his request was being slow-walked. Foote also wanted greater oversight of Haiti policy but was rebuffed.
White House correspondent and PBS news anchor Yamiche Alcindor shared Foote’s resignation letter on Twitter, in which he criticizes the administration’s approach to the troubled island nation.
His exit leaves a gaping hole in U.S. policy toward Haiti just as President Biden is being hit with bipartisan criticism over the handling of the migrant crisis at the southern border. The number of people at the encampment beneath the bridge in Del Rio has shrunk from a peak of about 15,000 last week, thanks to the daily flights sending Haitians back to their home country and others being released in the U.S. with notices to appear before immigration authorities.
A number of immigration advocates and members of the President’s own party say expelling thousands of Haitians without giving them a chance to seek asylum goes against American ideals. Images of Border Patrol agents on horseback detaining Haitian refugees has also made things worse as the story continues to lead the national news cycles.