According to several confirmed reports, the U.S. Embassy has sent out an official statement, warning “darker -skinned” American citizens that plan to visit the Dominican Republic that they might be profiled as Haitian migrants, therefore wrongfully detained because of their skin color.
The Dominican Republic has recently become more strict on Haitian immigrants, which means that anyone in the DR with dark skin(Black and/or African descent) and appear to be Haitian run the risk of being detained by authorities, according to the Embassy. The Embassy also reported that the Dominican Migration (DGM) is in the midst of conducting a countrywide investigation, which is focusing on the rising population of undocumented immigrants, mainly from the neighboring country of Haiti.
The notice, which was sent out last week(November 19), says that those who are detained are sent to “overcrowded detention centers”, with little or no access to food or restrooms.
The warning reads:
“This message is to advise U.S. citizens that in recent months travelers to the Dominican Republic have reported being delayed, detained, or subject to heightened questioning at ports of entry and in other encounters with immigration officials based on their skin color. Reports of disparate treatment of U.S. citizens by Dominican authorities are a matter of ongoing concern to the U.S. Embassy.
In addition, in recent days, as reported in Dominican media, Dominican Migration (DGM) agents have conducted widespread operations aimed at detaining those they believe to be undocumented migrants, especially persons of Haitian descent. In some cases, authorities have not respected these individuals’ legal status in the Dominican Republic or nationality. These actions may lead to increased interaction with Dominican authorities, especially for darker skinned U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens of African descent. There are reports that detainees are kept in overcrowded detention centers, without the ability to challenge their detention, and without access to food or restroom facilities, sometimes for days at a time, before being released or deported to Haiti.”
Dominican authorities immediately refuted the Embassy’s claims, citing that the Embassy’s cautionary alert was “manifestly unfounded, untimely.” D.R. officials also pointed out their long-term allegiance with the United States, alleging that they would never deliberately profile visitors solely based on their skin color.
“The Dominican government never could have imagined there would be such a harsh insinuation made about our country, much less from an ally that has been subject to accusations of xenophobic and racist treatment of migrants, including in parts of its own population,” wrote the Dominican Foreign Ministry.
Videos have surfaced all over the internet of Haitians being brutalized by police and authorities in the Dominican Republic, with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk pleading with the DR government to stop the mass deportation of Haitians. President Louis Abinader has set off an aggressive plan to rid the DR of anyone illegally living in the country.
Since the deportation initiative, 140,000 Haitian migrants have been deported from the Dominican Republic, with a new report stating that hundreds of Haitian children are being deported from the DR without their parents.
Despite the fact that Haiti has been submerged in conflict ever since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, including a cholera outbreak which has crippled the country’s citizens, the Dominican Republic appears to not support the Haitian people in their time of crisis, which has awakened age-old stories of racism stemming from Dominican/Haitian relations.