US special envoy to Haiti resigns over 'deeply flawed' policy

State Dept. says former envoy 'mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation'

Servet Günerigök   | 23.09.2021
US special envoy to Haiti resigns over 'deeply flawed' policy


US Special Envoy for Haiti Daniel Foote abruptly resigned on Thursday because of what he said was a "deeply flawed" policy on Haiti, days after large-scale expulsions of Haitian migrants prompted mass outcry.

In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foote said he would not be associated with the US' "inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti.

"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," wrote the ambassador. "The people of Haiti, mired in poverty, hostage to the terror, kidnappings, robberies and massacres of armed gangs and suffering under a corrupt government with gang alliances, simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy.”

Foote said Haiti's government has "collapsed" and is "unable to provide security or basic services and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime."

The letter was first reported by PBS News.

US officials said Monday that more than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from a camp in a town in the state of Texas, which triggered criticism after border patrol officers used horse patrols to block the migrants from crossing into the town of Del Rio.

Thousands of migrants, many of whom are from impoverished Haiti, have formed an encampment under a bridge in the border town amid a sharp increase in arrivals during the summer.

The State Department acknowledged Foote's resignation, but flatly rebuffed his claims that his policy suggestions were ignored, saying the suggestion is "simply false" while assailing his decision to leave and how he chose to resign.

"No ideas are ignored, but not all ideas are good ideas," spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

"This is a challenging moment that requires leadership. It is unfortunate that, instead of participating in a solutions-oriented policy process, Special Envoy Foote has both resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation. He failed to take advantage of ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure and chose to resign instead," added Price.

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