US Congressman Calls For Major Policy Shift On Haiti

haitians-in-the-darien-gap
The hearing came as migrants, mostly from Haiti, departed a base camp towards the jungle in the infamous Darien Gap while on their journey towards the United States on October 07, 2021 at Las Tekas, Colombia. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Oct. 8, 2021: A U.S. Congressman who represents a large percentage of Caribbean nationals in his constituency of Queens, NY, has called on the administration to commit to a major policy shift on Haiti.

Representative Gregory Meeks, the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Democratic chairman, says that the commitment must be made not just on immigration.

“We need to commit to a major shift in U.S. policy with Haiti,” Meeks tweeted. “And I’m not just talking about immigration. … but in the way we treat Haiti among our foreign policy priorities in this hemisphere.”

The congressman also promised that his committee would keep up its focus on the issue as he also decried the treatment of Haitians, noting images of U.S. border agents on horses going after refugees with what appeared to be whips.

Meeks’ comments come as the now former U.S. special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday that Washington must rethink its approach to the Caribbean nation.

“Deportation in the short term is not going to make Haiti more stable. In fact, it’s going to make it worse,” former envoy Foote told a briefing for the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, where both Democrats and Republicans denounced U.S. policy.

Foote, a career diplomat named to his post in July, said Haiti was reeling from poverty, crime and other challenges and unable to support the infusion of returning migrants.

He told the committee that, while serving as envoy, he had not been told about the deportations, which took place after thousands of Haitians – many of whom had been living for years outside their homeland – came to the U.S. border with Mexico.

“I found out about it on the news,” Foote said.