U.S. Diplomat to Haiti Resigns Over Biden Administration Policy

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Haitian deportees arriving to the airdrome  successful  Port-au-Prince earlier this week.
Credit...Federico Rios for The New York Times

Lara Jakes

  • Sept. 23, 2021Updated 11:49 a.m. ET

A elder American diplomat who oversees Haiti argumentation has resigned, 2 U.S. officials said, submitting a missive to the State Department that excoriated the Biden administration’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision” to nonstop Haitian migrants backmost to a state that has been wracked this summertime by a deadly earthquake and governmental turmoil.

The diplomat, Daniel Foote, was appointed peculiar envoy to Haiti successful July, conscionable weeks aft President Jovenel Moïse was killed successful his chamber during a nighttime raid connected his residence. Mr. Foote, a erstwhile ambassador to Zambia and acting adjunct caput for planetary narcotics and instrumentality enforcement affairs, did not respond to messages for remark connected Thursday morning.

In his stinging resignation letter, dated Wednesday, Mr. Foote criticized the Biden medication for deporting immoderate of the thousands of the Haitian migrants who had traveled to the Texas borderline from Mexico and Central America successful caller days.

“I volition not beryllium associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive determination to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and amerciable immigrants to Haiti, a state wherever American officials are confined to unafraid compounds due to the fact that of the information posed by equipped gangs successful power of regular life,” Mr. Foote wrote successful the letter, which was first reported by PBS NewsHour. Its authenticity was confirmed by a elder State Department authoritative and a legislature official.

Mr. Foote besides blasted a “cycle of planetary governmental interventions successful Haiti” that “has consistently produced catastrophic results,” and helium warned that the fig of migrants to American borders “will lone turn arsenic we adhd to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.”

In May, the Biden medication extended impermanent protected presumption for 150,000 Haitians already surviving successful the United States. The bid was extended again for Haitians surviving successful the United States earlier July 29. But tens of thousands much Haitians person attempted to transverse into the United States since then, contempt not qualifying for the program.

Mr. Foote was said to person pushed for greater oversight and responsibilities successful his occupation arsenic envoy to Haiti, efforts that were rejected by elder State Department officials. The department’s spokesman, Ned Price, connected Thursday described proposals enactment forward, including by Mr. Foote, that “were determined to beryllium harmful to our committedness to the promotion of ideology successful Haiti and were rejected during the argumentation process.”

“No ideas are ignored, but not each ideas are bully ideas,” Mr. Price said. He was responding to Mr. Foote’s claim, successful his resignation letter, that his recommendations were “ignored and dismissed.”

“Our argumentation attack to Haiti remains profoundly flawed,” Mr. Foote wrote.

The emergence successful Haitian migration began successful the months aft President Biden took office, erstwhile helium rapidly began reversing erstwhile President Donald J. Trump’s strictest migration policies, which was interpreted by galore arsenic a motion that the United States would beryllium much welcoming to migrants.

The U.S. Border Patrol said that much than 9,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, were being held successful a impermanent staging country nether the Del Rio International Bridge successful Texas arsenic agents worked arsenic rapidly arsenic they could to process them.

About 1,400 Haitians have been deported since Sunday, with much flights scheduled for each day, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As of Thursday, determination were astir 4,050 migrants, astir of them Haitians, inactive astatine the Del Rio bridge.

As galore arsenic 14,000 migrants are expected to beryllium returned to Haiti implicit the adjacent respective weeks. Haitian officials person pleaded with the United States to assistance a “humanitarian moratorium,” amid wide instability.

But the Biden administration, facing the highest level of borderline crossings successful decades, has enforced policies intended to dilatory the introduction of migrants. On Monday, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the caput of the Department of Homeland Security, said newly-arrived Haitians would not beryllium covered by the impermanent residence orders that were extended earlier this year.

“We are precise acrophobic that Haitians who are taking this irregular migration way are receiving mendacious accusation that the borderline is unfastened oregon that impermanent protected presumption is available,” Mr. Mayorkas said during a quality league connected Monday successful Del Rio, Texas. “I privation to marque definite that it is known that this is not the mode to travel to the United States.”

Officials astatine Haiti’s Embassy successful Washington did not respond to messages for remark Thursday morning.

In a statement, the State Department thanked Mr. Foote for his work and said “the United States remains committed to supporting safe, orderly, and humane migration passim our region.”

The connection said that the United States and the United Nations’ migration bureau was trying to marque definite that Haitians who are deported are met astatine the Port-au-Prince airdrome and fixed a meal, a hygiene kit and $100.

“Over the long-term, the U.S. authorities is committed to moving with the Haitian authorities and stakeholders crossed Haiti to fortify antiauthoritarian governance and the regularisation of law, summation inclusive economical growth, and amended information and the extortion of quality rights successful Haiti,” the department’s connection said.

Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting.

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