US envoy to Haiti resigns, slams migrant deportations
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Port-au-Prince (AFP) –
The US special envoy to Haiti resigned Thursday two months after his appointment, denouncing the Biden administration's deportation of Haitian migrants from the US-Mexico border back to their poverty-stricken homeland.
"I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti," State Department envoy Daniel Foote said in a scathing letter of resignation.
In the letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foote described Haiti as a place where US diplomats "are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life."
"Mired in poverty, hostage to the terror," Foote wrote, the Haitian population "simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy."
"More refugees will fuel further desperation and crime," he wrote.
The resignation came after the administration of President Joe Biden began last weekend loading Haitian migrants who crossed into the country from Mexico onto aircraft and flying them back to haiti.
Many of the thousands who crossed the border actually travelled from South America, where some said they fled to years ago from the grinding poverty and violence of Haiti.
- Thousands at the US border -
Well over 10,000 migrants, the largest part of them Haitian, flowed into the Texas border city of Del Rio in recent weeks seeking to remain in the United States.
Footage of the migrants, many of them families, massing under a highway bridge and moving back and forth to Mexico for food, have stunned America and sparked a fresh crisis over migrant policy.
Biden came under strong criticism after photographs and videos showed mounted Border Patrol officers using their horses to try and control the migrants, with some appearing to threaten migrants with their horses' long reins.
That has led to calls from Biden's own Democratic party to give the Haitians asylum rather than fly them back to Haiti.
On Wednesday Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he was in talks with Brazil, Chile and other South American countries to send the migrants back to them.
Tens of thousands of Haitians fled to South America after the massive 2010 earthquake wreaked heavy damage across the Caribbean nation.
Foote said in his letter that Haiti needs more assistance and a democratically chosen government, after the July assassination of president Jovenel Moise.
"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," he said.
© 2021 AFP