The Biden Administration’s special envoy to Haiti resigned this week after citing “inhumane large-scale expulsions of Haitian migrants to their homeland,” which has already been ravaged by natural disasters, and civil unrest.
Daniel Foote was appointed to the envoy position back in July after Haiti’s president was assassinated. An envoy refers to a messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission, within the government. Beyond the recent headlines regarding the harsh treatment Haitian migrants have been enduring, Foote was known for often complaining about the lack of urgency coming from Washington when it came to improving Haiti’s conditions and infrastructure after so many natural disasters.
Foote wrote Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week, stating that he was “stepping down immediately 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.”
“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 wrote.
One official within the White House claimed that Foote had consistently tried to have a greater oversight presence in Haiti, especially when it came to policies that would improve the nation’s infrastructure. The administration consistently told Foote his requests were not appropriate, according to the official who chose to remain anonymous.
The White House and Biden Administration has been under major fire in recent weeks when it comes to Haiti. Many Democrats and immigration rights activists have gone online to condemn the government for expelling thousands of Haitians without a chance to seek asylum; which violated American principles.
Even more recently, images were blasted all over social media showing Border Patrol agents on horseback using aggressive tactics against Haitian migrants, including a whip, leading many to make the obvious comparison to slavery and the power dynamics that still exist within the American system to this day.
US officials are currently ramping up their deportation efforts and organizing to get seven expulsion flights from the US to Haiti a day; this would mark one of the swiftist and large-scale expulsions from the US in decades, and in the middle of a worldwide health crisis.
“When someone who is tasked with Haiti policy at the highest level resigns because recommendations are ignored and dismissed it’s not only troubling, but shows you this administration does not tolerate anyone who won’t go along with their distorted view of the facts. Dan Foote is a world class diplomat who refuses to be told what to do. I wish more foreign service officers had his courage to stand up and call out their bosses,” said Damian Merlo, a Republican strategist who has worked for years on Haiti policy and is now a registered lobbyist for the country’s government.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.