Ambassador Daniel Foote, the United States’ special envoy to Haiti, has resigned over the Biden administration's treatment of Haitians at the U.S.- Mexico border.
Reuters reports hundreds of Haitian migrants have been living in a makeshift campsite under a bridge in the town of Del Rio, Texas while awaiting the progression of their pending immigration status. U.S. officials have permitted them to go to Ciudad Acuña in Mexico in pursuit of food and supplies, and return through a shallow point of the river.
Images of federal border patrol agents on horseback whipping the migrants as they tried to cross the Rio Grande went viral and sparked outrage over their treatment. An investigation of the action is underway, officials say. But the incident was enough to move Foote, who had only been in the job since July, to step down.
Foote’s resignation letter, obtained by PBS, read, " I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haiïtian 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. Our policy approach to Haïti remains deeply flawed, and my recommendations have been ignored and dismissed, when not edited to project a narrative different from my own.
“The people of Haiti, mired in poverty, hostage to the terror, kidnappings, robberies and massacres of armed gangs and sufferings 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,” it continued.
The U.S. State Department has had little to say in response to the resignation so far. “Ambassador Daniel Foote has submitted his resignation as Special Envoy to Haiti. We thank him for his service to his country and to the people of Haiti,” the department said in a statement to the Miami Herald.
On Sept. 22, Rep. Maxine Waters spoke out, saying she is “unhappy with this administration” and “what we witnessed was worse than what we witnessed in slavery … cowboys with their reins, again, whipping Black people."
House Democrats are demanding Biden stop all deportations. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, said at a Sept. 22 press conference outside the U.S. .Capitol, “The Biden administration must immediately and indefinitely halt deportations.”
The Biden administration is using a Trump era policy, which is a public health law known as Title 42. Under this law, migrants at a port of entry are denied a chance to apply for asylum and are deported due to a public health crisis. However, according to CNN, a federal judge has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing Title 42. On Sept. 16, the administration was given two weeks to stop the policy.