Special envoy for Haiti resigns citing ‘inhumane’ US decision to deport thousands of Haitians from US border

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Daniel Foote

By Etant Dupain and Chandelis Duster, CNN

Daniel Foote, the US special envoy for Haiti, has handed in his resignation to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying he will “not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees” from the US-Mexico border.

He adds that the US policy approach to Haiti remains “deeply flawed.”

The Biden administration is presently grappling with an influx of thousands of migrants, many of whom are Haitian, at the US-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas. The administration has repeatedly vowed in public statements that the migrants will be turned away, even though some are being released into the US as they await processing proceedings.

Foote stated in his resignation letter to Blinken that Haiti is wracked with poverty, crime, government corruption and a lack of humanitarian resources. He said the “collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime.”

He added that more negative impacts to Haiti will have calamitous consequences, not only in Haiti but in the US and our neighbors in the hemisphere.”

A House Foreign Affairs Committee aide said Chairman Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat, received a copy of the letter and confirms its content.

Some Democratic lawmakers have asked the Biden administration to stop deporting those who have fled Haiti for the US and have slammed the administration for its treatment of Haitian migrants, particularly after videos from news outlets appear to show Border Patrol officials using aggressive tactics when confronting them.

Twelve repatriation flights have left the US and 1,401 Haitians have been returned to Haiti since Sunday, according to the Department of Homeland Security. There are less than 5,000 migrants in the Del Rio sector.

On Wednesday, DHS conducted two flights from Del Rio to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and one repatriation flight from Del Rio to Cap Haitien, Haiti, with a total of 318 Haitian nationals on board.

CNN has previously reported that DHS expects to ramp up flights to as many as seven a day.

More than 3,200 Haitians have been moved from the Del Rio camp to CBP custody or other processing facilities along the border to be expelled or placed into removal proceedings.

This story has been updated with additional details and background information.

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CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Priscilla Alvarez and Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.

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