Ambassador Daniel Foote, the Special Envoy for Haiti, has chosen to resign rather than carry out the Biden administration’s plans to deport refugees from Haiti currently at the U.S.-Mexico border, PBS News’ Yamiche Alcindor first reported.
“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,” Foote wrote in his resignation letter, adding that the administration’s plan for the refugees is “deeply flawed.”
Haiti is a “collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services,” Foote wrote. He went on to say that sending the refugees back “will fuel further desperation and crime,” and those negative effects will have “calamitous consequences not only in Haiti, but in the U.S. and our neighbors in the hemisphere.”
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The Biden administration is able to immediately deport migrants under a Trump-era public-health provision known as Title 42 that was put in place at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s based on the racist idea that migrants may pose a health risk to the United S.
But as Dr. Michele Heisler, medical director of Physicians for Human Rights, told Rolling Stone, “There has never, ever been any public health basis for singling out asylum-seekers for deportation.”
Refugees have fled Haiti in recent months following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Nearly 15,000 have gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas, where they intend to seek asylum in America. But the Biden administration has already begun expelling migrants by putting them on flights to Haiti. On Tuesday, migrants tried to force their way back onto a plane that had landed in Port-au-Prince, throwing shoes at the plane and yelling, “This is abuse!” and “How is this possible?!”
“What can we provide for our family?” one migrant, Maxine Orélien, told the AP. “We can’t do anything for our family here. There is nothing in this country.”
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