The US special envoy for Haiti has resigned in protest over the deportation of Haitian migrants. The decision to return migrants fleeing an earthquake and political instability was “inhumane”, senior diplomat Daniel Foote said in a damning letter.
Last weekend, the US started deportation flights from a Texas border town where about 13,000 migrants had gathered under a bridge.
They have been waiting in a makeshift camp in temperatures of 37C (99F). Local officials have struggled to provide them with food and adequate sanitation.
Since Sunday, the US has returned to Haiti 1,401 migrants from the Texas camp on the border with Mexico. But in his resignation letter, Foote said Haiti was a “collapsed state” that “simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy”. Since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, many Haitians have left the country. A large number of those in the camp had been living in Brazil or other South American countries and travelled north after being unable to secure jobs or legal status. This year has brought further hardship for the impoverished country. In July, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated – and in August it suffered another deadly earthquake.
Images of horse-mounted US officers corralling the migrants have evoked dark comparisons to US slavery and the country’s historical mistreatment of black people.