Biden sold out Haitian democracy for migrant deal: ex-envoy


The Biden administration frustrated Haiti’s plans for free elections and backed a de facto dictator in exchange for his willingness to accept deportees, the former US envoy to the country has said.

Daniel Foote, the former Biden-appointed U.S. special envoy to Haiti, says the administration backed Dr. Ariel Henry — who took power as acting prime minister and acting president after President Jovenel was assassinated Moise – because he was willing to accept Haitian migrants who rushed to the US border.

Henry was supposed to have called new elections by now. But in September 2021, a large group of Haitian migrants camped in Del Rio, Texas, and footage of the encampment – including border guards on horseback trying to stop them crossing the river – caused a headache. politics to President Biden.

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen in an encampment near the Del Rio International Bridge, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.


An area where about 14,000 migrants, many from Haiti, were camping along the Del Rio International Bridge is seen with much of the area cleared as authorities continue to process and remove them, Thursday, Sept. 23 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.

An area where around 14,000 migrants, many from Haiti, were camping along the Del Rio International Bridge is seen with much of the area cleared as authorities continue to process and remove them on September 23, 2021, in Del Rio, TX.


A migrant is seen at an encampment under the Del Rio International Bridge where migrants, many of them from Haiti, stayed after crossing the Rio Grande, in Del Rio, Texas.

A migrant is seen in an encampment under the Del Rio International Bridge.


Henry agreed to take in deported Haitians, Foote says, and the Biden administration stopped pushing for democracy in the Caribbean nation.

The cover of
Foote discussed Biden’s vindication in “Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History.”

“I’m convinced that the main reason they did this is his [Henry’s] malleability and the fact that he agreed to take all the deportees they wanted to send. It wasn’t long after that. . . we started putting them on planes,” Foote told me in an interview for my upcoming book, “Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History.”

“The United States has carried out an undemocratic transfer of power. We were just kicking the box so as not to disrupt the vote around midterms.

On the morning of July 7, 2021, two dozen gunmen stormed the Haitian presidential compound, killing President Moise with 12 shots and wounding his wife.

The case remains unsolved, although reports from The New York Times and CNN show Henry is close to one of the men charged with the murder, Joseph Felix Badio. Henry denied any involvement.

Henry was supposed to oversee the work of a “Provisional Electoral Council” that was organizing Haiti’s long-awaited presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for November 2021.

Haitians take to the streets to protest against growing insecurity in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on March 29, 2022.
Haitians took to the streets to protest against growing insecurity in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on March 29, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

But nearly a year later, Henry remains Haiti’s US-backed head of state. No election took place. Meanwhile, the country’s bicameral National Assembly legislature, which is meant to provide ratifying checks or balances on executive branch power, is lapsed, as is the country’s Supreme Court.

Henry is a leader with no national control over power – a dictator.

Foote, who was named an envoy shortly after the assassination, believes the Del Rio encampment is the reason Biden officials looked the other way.

Beginning around September 18, 2021, a massive, squalid encampment that would quickly peak at some 17,000 mostly Haitian immigrants suddenly formed on the Texas side of the Rio Grande under the bridge between Del Rio in Texas and Ciudad Acuna in Mexico.

White House advisers viewed the Texas encampment crisis as a serious political threat to Democratic prospects in the 2022 midterm elections.

Foote served as the US envoy to Haiti.
Daniel Foote explained how Henry is a threat to Haitian democracy since he has yet to hold an election.
US State Department

The Biden administration decided to deport most Haitians by air from Laughlin Air Force Base outside Del Rio. But this required the formal approval of Haiti. Henry accepted.

The first of what would be 58 flights from Camp Del Rio carrying nearly 9,000 Haitians from Texas began landing in Port-au-Prince around September 20, and on September 27, Henry abolished the Provisional Electoral Council before the elections.

He couldn’t have done such a thing without American support and Henry’s effective anointing to indefinite power, says Foote, whom senior State Department officials told him they didn’t want because the decision was already made.

On September 22, Foote resigned over this attack on Haitian democracy, his departure falsely reported as resulting solely from moral objections to Del Rio’s air deportations.

“The main reason” he quit, Foote told me for “Overrun,” was the Biden government’s morally reprehensible support for Henry in power by scuttling processes to restore democracy in exchange for the deal. Henry to accept deportation flights from Texas.

“I believe they were terrified of immigration as a medium-term issue and beyond,” Foote said.

In its haste to scuttle Haitian democracy, Foote noted, the Biden administration has shown no fidelity to its most exalted ideals when it comes to immigration policy: its dedication to addressing the so-called “root causes of emigration to the US border, such as poverty, violence and poor governance.

“We are only adding to the human tragedy in a place where the state has already failed, and thus creating greater demand for emigration,” Foote says. “Whereas, if we did it like reasonable adults and thought about how best to do it, we could tackle the drivers of emigration and minimize the amount of emigration.”

Biden also faces criticism in his own party.

These calls have been largely ignored by the Biden administration.
Seven members of Congress pushed Biden to withdraw his support for Henry.
Getty Images

In March, seven U.S. members of Congress pushed Biden to withdraw his support for Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and push for a transitional government.

“If we look at what are the reasons behind [the immigration]it really comes down to the political instability that is increasing crime in Haiti,” Haitian-American Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.) told Reuters.

But a nice strong man is better than an elected government that could block flights.

As The Wall Street Journal reported last year, “Some of Biden’s top advisers, who favored mass deportations, said images of the migrants below the bridge weeks after the chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan could add to criticism that the administration was losing control of difficult situations.

These events are also mobilizing for a better quality of life in Haiti.
On September 27 last year, Henry abolished the Provisional Electoral Council ahead of the election.
PA

Amid electoral setbacks in Virginia and New Jersey for Democrats at the time and the “disarray” of Del Rio’s camp, the Washington Post reported, the White House found itself under pressure to “avoid further scenes.” chaos at the border”. Top moderate advisers saw the crisis “almost entirely from a political perspective”, the newspaper reported.

And even though the Biden administration had been critical of Donald Trump’s policies, it knew that air deportations were very effective in deterring illegal migration.

By the end of September 2021, some 8,000 Haitians had been deported and the camp was mostly forgotten by the media.

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen in an encampment along the Del Rio International Bridge near the Rio Grande, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.
Migrants are seen in an encampment along the Del Rio International Bridge near the Rio Grande on September 21, 2021.
PA

The Biden administration pretended to end the Del Rio flights under pressure from the liberal progressive wing of the party, which was outraged. But in December 2021, as the number of Haitians began to climb again, the administration restarted Haitian deportation flights.

Henry was still there to accept more than 10,000 returning Haitians from January to April 2022. No new similar camp of Haitians ever formed again. Henry still has not restored the Provisional Electoral Council.

Todd Bensman is a national security researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies and author of the upcoming “Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History.”

New York Post

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