“I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants,” Foote said in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that circulated publicly on Thursday.
Daniel Foote, a career diplomat named to his post in July, said conditions in Haiti were so bad that U.S. officials were confined to secure compounds. He said the “collapsed state” was unable to support the infusion of returning migrants.
Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has gone through profound instability in recent weeks, including a presidential assassination, gang violence and a major earthquake.
The United States has returned more than 1,400 migrants from the camp in Del Rio, Texas to Haiti – including families – and moved over 3,200 people for processing away from the encampment, Department of Homeland Security officials said on Thursday. At its peak on Sept. 18 there were some 15,000 people there.
The population has been reduced to around 4,000 by expulsion flights, detentions and releases. Others have left the dusty riverbank on the Rio Grande for Mexico to avoid being sent home.
Filippo Grandi, the head of the U.N refugee agency, warned that this week the U.S. expulsions to Haiti might violate international law.
Foote submitted his resignation to Blinken on Wednesday, a State Department spokesperson said, adding that Washington was committed to the long-term well being of Haiti, as well as offering immediate help to returning migrants.