An alert sent by the embassy warns all citizens, particularly those who have dark skin or who are of African descent, to have charged cellphones and their U.S. passports at all times.
The embassy said local media reports have suggested the Dominican Republic has been conducting “widespread operations” to find illegal immigrants, specifically those from Haiti, and that authorities have not always “respected” the legal status of those detained or questioned by agents.
“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,” the alert said.
The Dominican Republic’s Foreign Affairs Ministry denied the allegations of mistreatment in a statement to the Associated Press.
“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,” the statement said.
The Dominican Republic shares a 240-mile border with Haiti, and tensions between the two remain icy, especially amid the turbulence in Haiti caused by the assassination of its president in 2021. The United Nations has been vocally opposed to the deportations of Haitians out of the Dominican Republic, calling for it to cease as Haiti deals with “unremitting armed violence and systematic human rights violations.”
The U.S. Embassy urged citizens to report any incidents to it by calling its emergency number at (809) 567-7775.