In a report from yesterday (Nov. 22), The Guardian shared that the U.S. embassy has advised “darker-skinned” American citizens to use caution when traveling to the Dominican Republic. The memo comes as officials in the country are trying to regulate Haitian migrants.
The outlet added that the U.S. embassy in Santo Domingo believes authorities are using a person’s physical attributes to determine if they should be placed in detention camps for illegally entering the country. There has been an increase in the number of individuals in the area who have not gone through the proper channels to obtain residency. Between July and Oct., 43,900 migrants have been deported, with the majority being Haitian. The Guardian explained that there has been rising civil unrest and gang violence in the Dominican Republic.
In a post from the weekend, the U.S. embassy said, “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.” The bulletin continued, “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.”
The alert added that these new findings mainly affect “darker-skinned U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens of African descent.” According to the memo, in some cases, Americans mistaken for Haitian migrants were placed in overcrowded detention camps and forced to go days without food or water. Those traveling to the Dominican Republic with darker complexions are urged to have their passport at all times and to keep their cellphones charged. It is also advised that you have the phone number to the U.S. Embassy and contact them immediately at (809) 567-7775 should problems arise.