WATCH: Former U.S. special envoy to Haiti delivers remarks

The former U.S. special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, who resigned as the Biden administration expelled thousands of Haitian migrants on the southern U.S. border told House lawmakers that deportations “in the short term is not going to make Haiti more stable. In fact, it’s going to make it worse.”

Watch Foote’s remarks in the player above.

“Haiti as a country and its government cannot support the people it has there right now,” Foote said. “There’s no safety net. It’s just a recipe for human tragedy.”

The U.S. expelled more than 7,000 Haitian migrants to Haiti aboard 65 flights from Sept. 19 through Oct. 3, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The expulsions to a devastated nation many left years ago have received sharp criticism and prompted Foote’s resignation.

He has called the large-scale deportations “inhumane,” and said in a U.S. congressional briefing on Thursday that he was never asked about them and found out they were occurring through news reports.

The administration has been slammed from the right for not taking a tougher stand at the border and from the other side for repatriating Haitians to a homeland that is now facing a deep economic crisis, a spike in gang-related violence and great political instability following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Foote noted that U.S. diplomats cannot leave their compound in Port-au-Prince without an armed guard.

“The gangs run Port-au-Prince. It is in their control,” he said. “They are better equipped and better armed than the police.”

The hemisphere’s poorest country also is trying to recover from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in mid-August that killed more than 2,200 people while destroying or damaging tens of thousands of homes.

Years of political stalemate have left the country with a barely functional government, legislature and courts – a situation that makes next year’s presidential and legislative elections especially crucial.

“The elections need to be acceptable to the Haitian people, or it doesn’t make sense to happen,” Foote said. “And that’s why they can’t be imminent. The security situation itself is going to take, you know, let’s say, a year.”

Foote resigned last month, saying that he did not want to be associated with what he called the United States’ “inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees” back to the island nation.

Foote’s resignation letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which was first obtained by the PBS NewsHour, came as the Biden administration faced widespread backlash over its treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas, where images of horseback border patrol agents using reins against migrants have sparked outrage. The Department of Homeland Security has since suspended those agents while it launches an investigation.

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