The ever-bedeviled Caribbean island nation of Haiti is suffering its worst anarchy in decades, which says much about how lawless and pre-modern life there has become. Circumstances are so atrocious that nominal “leader,” Dr. Henry Ariel, who questionably inherited the top job after the 2021 assassination of Haiti’s last president, is begging for foreign military intervention.

But a world contemplating how to respond should know that an unlikely straight line of blame for this traces to, of all places, the small South Texas border city of Del Rio and an encampment of 15,000 mostly Haitian migrants that formed there in late September 2021 on the Rio Grande border with Mexico.

And, Haiti’s pain especially traces to how the Joe Biden White House liquidated that politically problematic camp.

Broader knowledge of what happened is key to helping Haiti out of its crisis now.

As I report for the first time in my new book, “Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History,” White House advisers so fiercely feared the encampment would hurt November 2022 mid-term election prospects for Democrats that they scuttled Haiti’s first national elections in a generation, scheduled just six weeks after the camp formed. As part of its solution to end international media coverage of the camp, the White House installed Henry as Haiti’s de-facto dictator and okayed his cancellation of those imminent elections, which sent Haiti spiraling into the anarchic crisis of today.

This stunning story came to me via Biden’s own appointed Special Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, who resigned September 22, 2021 after learning through official State Department channels of the White House’s decision to support impending Haitian election cancellations. Foote granted me an exclusive interview for the book.

“The U.S. said, ‘Okay, we’re going to make this guy prime minister,” recalled Foote, a 30-year career diplomat. “The U.S. carried out a non-democratic transfer of power. We are backing a candidate who ensured Haiti would not get better.”

When the Del Rio camp started forming the third week of September 2021, Haiti was just six weeks from the first (November 7) of two national elections widely seen as the nation’s salvation: The people were to restore a disintegrated parliament, choose a president, and begin the work of spreading security necessary to attract economic investment. But the Del Rio camp happened instead. It was attracting international media attention. To end both, the White House decided to air-deport nearly 9,000 camp inhabitants to Haiti.

But deportations require the receiving nation’s permission.

According to Foote, the Biden White House cut a deal with Henry: He could be Haiti’s leader and cancel the upcoming elections so long as he accepted the Del Rio camp deportees. Henry canceled them on September 28 as ICE aircraft were
landing on the Port-au-Prince airport tarmac.

“They basically anointed the [expletive] leader of Haiti. I am confident that the chief reason they did it is that his [Henry’s] malleability and the fact that he agreed that he would take all the deportees that they wanted to send,” Foote told
me. Asked why, he said, “I believe they were terrified of immigration as an issue in the mid-terms and beyond.”

Subsequent media reporting had it that Foote resigned over the deportations because he thought them inhumane. But Foote said that narrative was largely untrue. Cancellation of Haiti’s national elections, he said, was “the biggest reason.”

The Biden White House has never responded to my emailed requests for comment about Foote’s account.

Thousands of the Del Rio camp’s Haitians fled back into Mexico. The crisis was over by October 1, 2021, and the media went home. Neither the camp nor the broader mass migration border crisis figured much in the U.S. mid-terms. Democratic Party power remained more intact than anyone expected.

But Haiti was left holding a big bag. Henry was left to preside over a precipitous disintegration into fully failed statehood, leaving millions of Haitians desperate to emigrate. Its elections remain unscheduled, in part, because Foote’s story remains unacknowledged.

Now that it is out, Haiti’s obvious long-term way out is for the Biden administration to right its wrong and restore the democratic elections it stole for cheap political gain.