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

The Biden administration has scuttled Haiti’s plans for free elections and backed a de facto dictator in exchange for his willingness to take in deportees, says America’s former envoy to the country.

Daniel Foote, the former US special envoy for Haiti appointed by Biden, says the government has given Dr. Ariel Henry – who came to power as both acting prime minister and acting president after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise – backed his willingness to accept Haitian migrants who have poured through the US border.

Henry should have organized new elections by now. But in September 2021, a large group of Haitian migrants were camped out in Del Rio, Texas, and images of the camp — including border agents on horseback trying to prevent them from crossing the river — caused President Biden a political headache.

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen at a camp near the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on Friday, September 24, 2021.

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen at a camp near the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on Friday, September 24, 2021.


An area where about 14,000 migrants, many from Haiti, were camping along the Del Rio International Bridge can be seen, with much of the area being cleaned up as authorities continue to process them Thursday, September 23, 2021 and remove Rio, Texas.

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


A migrant is seen at a camp under the Del Rio International Bridge where migrants, many from Haiti, have stayed after crossing the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas.

A migrant is seen at a camp 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 Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History.
Foote discussed Biden’s rationale in Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History.

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

“The US has carried out an undemocratic transfer of power. We just kicked the can out onto the street so we wouldn’t disrupt the vote towards Midterms.”

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

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

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

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

But nearly a year later, Henry remains the US-backed leader of Haiti. There were no elections. Meanwhile, the bicameral legislature of the National Assembly, which is supposed to ratify executive power, is suspended, as is the nation’s Supreme Court.

Henry is a leader with no domestic power controls – a dictator.

Foote, who was appointed envoy shortly after the assassination, believes Camp Del Rio is why Biden officials have looked the other way.

Beginning around September 18, 2021, a vast and filthy camp suddenly formed on the Texas side of the Rio Grande under the bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, and would quickly peak at around 17,000 mostly Haitian immigrants.

White House advisers viewed the Texas camp crisis as a serious political threat to Democrats’ prospects in the 2022 midterm elections.

Foote served as the US envoy to Haiti.
Daniel Foote spoke about Henry posing a threat to Haitian democracy as he has yet to organize elections.
US Department of State

The Biden administration decided to deport most of the Haitians by air from Laughlin Air Force Base outside of Del Rio. However, this required formal Haitian approval. Henry agreed.

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

He could not have done such a thing without American support and the effective anointing of Henry to indefinite power, says Foote, whose input senior State Department officials told him they didn’t want to do because the decision had already been made.

On September 22, Foote resigned over this undermining of Haitian democracy, his resignation falsely stated as a result of moral objections to the Del Rio air deportations.

“The primary reason” for his resignation, Foote told me for Overrun, was the Biden administration’s morally reprehensible support for Henry to power by turning off the processes to restore democracy in exchange for Henry agreeing to accept the deportation flights Texas failed.

“I think they were afraid of immigration as an issue at midterm and beyond,” says Foote.

In its rush to crush Haitian democracy, Foote noted that the Biden administration was flouting its loftiest ideals of immigration policy: its commitment to addressing the so-called “root causes” of emigration to the American border, such as poverty, violence, and bad governance.

“We’re only adding to the human tragedy in a place where the state has already failed, thereby creating more demand for emigration,” says Foote. “On the other hand, if we act like sensible adults and think about the best way forward, we could address the reasons for emigration and minimize emigration.”

Biden also faces criticism in his own party.

These calls were largely ignored by the Biden administration.
Seven members of Congress urged Biden to end his support for Henry.
Getty Images

In March, seven US congressmen urged Biden to withdraw support for Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry and instead push for an interim government.

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

But a pleasant strongman is preferable to an elected government that could block flights.

As the Wall Street Journal reported last year: “Some of Mr. Biden’s top advisers, who advocated the mass deportations, said images of migrants under the bridge weeks after the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan could fuel criticism of the government in troubled times.” situations to lose control.”

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

Amid the electoral setbacks in Virginia and New Jersey for the Democrats at the time and the “muddle” of the Del Rio camp, the Washington Post reported, the White House felt pressure to “avoid further scenes of chaos at the border.” Top-moderate advisers viewed the crisis “almost exclusively from a political perspective,” the newspaper reported.

And although the Biden administration had criticized Donald Trump’s policies, it knew that deportations from planes were highly effective in deterring illegal migration.

Around 8,000 Haitians were deported by the end of September 2021 and the camp was largely forgotten by the media.

Migrants, many from Haiti, are seen at a camp along the Del Rio International Bridge near the Rio Grande River in Del Rio, Texas on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.
Migrants are seen at a camp along the Del Rio International Bridge near the Rio Grande on September 21, 2021.
AP

The Biden administration put on a show when it ended the Del Rio flights under pressure from the party’s liberal progressive wing, who were outraged by them. But in December 2021, when the number of Haitians began to increase again, the administration restarted the Haitian deportation flights.

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

Todd Bensman is a National Security Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and author of the upcoming book Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in US History.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/14/biden-sold-out-haitian-democracy-for-a-migrant-deal-ex-envoy/ Biden sold Haitian democracy for a migrant deal: ex-envoy

JACLYN DIAZ

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