President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Haiti, Ambassador Daniel Foote, announced on Sept. 23 that he’s resigning from the position, accusing the United States of mistreating Haitian illegal immigrants by deporting them back to their country of origin after more than 15,000 Haitians had surged into Del Rio, Texas.
“With deep disappointment and apologies to those seeking crucial changes, I resign from my position as Special Envoy for Haiti, effective immediately,” Foote, a career member of the foreign service, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and obtained by The Epoch Times.
“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 in control of daily life.”
The U.S. approach to Haiti, a country that has long been a hotbed for poverty and instability, is “deeply flawed,” Foote wrote before stating that his recommendations to the State Department were “ignored” or “dismissed.” Foote was appointed to the post following the assassination of Haiti’s president.
A spokesperson for the State Department confirmed Foote’s resignation to several media outlets on Sept. 23. Officials with the department didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
While thanking Foote “for his service,” the spokesperson issued a statement to The Washington Post defending U.S. policies toward Haiti.
“The United States remains committed to supporting safe, orderly, and humane migration throughout our region, and we engage with partners throughout the migratory corridor to impress upon them our shared responsibility for humane migration management, which includes enforcing migration laws and protecting vulnerable populations,” the spokesperson said.
The United States is working with the U.N.’s International Organization on Migration “to ensure that returning Haitian migrants are met at the airport and provided with immediate assistance,” the official told Fox News.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed to The Epoch Times that deportation flights containing Haitians have been carried out this week, stating that more than 1,000 Haitians who streamed into Del Rio were sent back. Officials, however, have suggested that many others have been released into the U.S. interior, while declining to say how many.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to give the data during a briefing in Washington and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has twice this week declined before Congress to share data about the number of illegal immigrants being released. On Sept. 21, he told senators in Washington that he didn’t have the precise numbers and wanted to wait so that he could provide accurate information. On Sept. 22, he again said that he didn’t have the data.
The White House is facing sharp bipartisan condemnation over the crisis. Democrats and many pro-immigration groups say that the efforts to deport thousands of Haitians without a chance to seek asylum violates the Biden administration’s immigration policies, while Republicans said that the surge of illegal immigrants in Del Rio is yet another sign of weakness and ineffective policy under Biden.
Foote previously served in Haiti as deputy chief of mission and is also the former ambassador to Zambia. Over the summer, after President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, Foote worked with the U.S. ambassador to support Haiti.
Zachary Stieber and Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.