Darker-skinned Americans may be profiled, detained in the Dominican Republic, warns US
By: April Carson
The government of the Dominican Republic is disputing a U.S. embassy cautions to dark-skinned American travelers that more prominent implementation against Haitian migrants in the Caribbean nation could result in their being racially pigeonholed or taken into custody.
The State Department's travel warning says that "individuals of Haitian descent, including individuals who may have U.S. citizenship and valid Dominican Republic documents, are particularly vulnerable to being detained."
Dominican officials are detaining people they believe to be undocumented migrants, primarily those of Haitian descent, local media said according to the U.S. embassy in Santo Domingo.
The embassy stated that “These actions may lead to increased interaction with Dominican authorities, especially for darker-skinned U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens of African descent." They continued on to say that "there are reports detainees are kept in detention centers that are overcrowded, without the ability to challenge their detainment, and lack access to food or restroom facilities– sometimes days at a time before being deported or released to Haiti."
The embassy's warning comes after reports of raids and arrests in the Dominican Republic targeting what authorities bBe aware that if you are a darker-skinned American citizen, it is possible that you may be profiled and subject to detention by local authorities.
The Dominican Republic issued a statement on Sunday in response to the U.S. criticism of the country's crackdown on immigration, calling the Saturday warning sent out by the U.S. embassy "manifestly unfounded and untimely." The alert, which was issued as "Alert: Reinforcement of migration in the Dominican Republic," warned Americans of increased checkpoints and patrols throughout the country.
The Dominican Republic's Ministry of Interior and Police said that it was "unacceptable" for the U.S. Embassy to issue such a warning, insisting that its efforts were focused on ensuring public order.
The U.S. embassy's messaging is at odds with the good relationship between the two countries, according to Dominican Republic's ministry of foreign affairs.
According to a statement, our country is the first trading partner of the United States in the Caribbean and sixth in Latin America. The same source said that throughout history, we have been American's most trusted ally when it comes to preserving a free international system that is open and prosperous for all nations.
Human-rights groups, the UN, and Haitians have been heavy critic of Dominican authorities since President Louis Abinader issued a decree earlier this month that called for mass deportations and the creation of police unit to investigate foreigners illegally occupying land.
On November 10th, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk called for an impending halt to deportations from countries neighboring Haiti back to Haiti. The request was made because of the severe human rights and humanitarian crises currently facing Haitians.
“It saddens me that forced returns of Haitians from the Dominican Republic are still occurring,” Turk said. “The constant armed violence and human rights violations in Haiti do not permit for the safe, return of Haitians to their home country where they can live with dignity."
Turk encouraged Dominican Republic officials to prevent xenophobia, discrimination and other types of intolerance based on race or nationality.
Although the United States government disapproved of the way migrants were being treated, it didn't demand an end to deporting Haitians.
African American or other darker-skinned individuals may have difficulty traveling to the Dominican Republic because of tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
What was supposed to be an eight-day getaway to the country turned into a nightmare for three South Florida brothers of Haitian descent. The men — Lonelson, John and Lovinsky Nalus — said they were set up with a four-pound package of marijuana planted in their white Hyundai Tucson rental car.
The brothers were unable to return home because court hearings were canceled and prosecutors weren't present, receiving little support from the U.S. government or Florida lawmakers in the meantime stuck in the Dominican Republic. More than two years later, their case is still unresolved in the Dominican Republic, said Lonelson.
While they wait for a resolution, Lonelson lost his job, one of his brothers had his car repossessed and another brother lost a soccer scholarship.
The Dominican Republic's Ministry of Foreign Relations said in a statement Sunday that the deportations of 43,900 Haitians between July and October is similar to what the Biden administration is doing. The ministry went on to say that this practices amounts to ignorance and an act against humanity.
The Dominican Republic has deported a high number of Haitian migrants, the statement said--just like any other country that repatriates foreign nationals.
The Dominican Republic is tired of being treated unfairly, the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Relations said. They went on to mention that the Biden administration deported more than 20,000 Haitians back to Haiti between February 2020 and February 2021-- which is more than they're being criticized for doing.
The ministry concluded by saying that this is an act of discrimination based on skin color and nationality, and it must be stopped. They urged the Biden administration to take action to prevent this type of profiling in the Dominican Republic, calling for greater respect for human rights. international community multiple times. This problem has gotten worse since President Moise was assassinated, and it now affects Dominican Republic's national security.
“In spite of a lack of support from the international community, we have striven to keep our border open to allow Haitians access to crucial food, medicine, fuel, water and so on. We will continue to do so, provided that those who enter the country comply with our laws,” said the ministry.
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