According to Homero Figueroa, spokesman for the Presidency of the Dominican Republic, Roberto Álvarez, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the migratory alert issued by the United States last November has resulted in a significant decrease in tourism. At least 35,000 fewer tourists have visited in recent months due to the Dominican Republic migration alert.

This update came after a meeting between Álvarez, U.S. Undersecretary Wendy Sherman, and President Luis Abinader at the National Palace in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic Flag hanging off balcony of white building
Photo Credit: Ruddy Corporan

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U.S. Embassy’s Migration Alert

The U.S. Embassy had ongoing concerns about the reports of discriminatory treatment of U.S. citizens of color by Dominican authorities. U.S. citizens have reported encounters of delays, detainment, and heightened questioning by immigration officials in the Dominican Republic based on their skin color.

According to the migration alert, Dominican Migration agents have been conducting widespread operations to detain individuals believed to be undocumented migrants, particularly those of Haitian descent.

In some cases, the authorities disregarded the individuals’ legal status in the Dominican Republic or nationality. These actions may result in increased interaction with Dominican authorities, particularly for darker-skinned U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens of African descent.

There are reports that detainees are being held in overcrowded detention centers under dire conditions. Detainees have no way to challenge their detention or access to food and restroom facilities. Detainees are held, in some cases, for days at a time before being released or deported to Haiti.

US Undersecretary Promises To Help Restore Tourism In DR

Figueroa stated that during the meeting, the U.S. undersecretary promised to work towards restoring the Dominican Republic’s previous immigration status.

In November 2022, the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic issued a warning to African-American U.S. citizens about the General Directorate of Migration’s increased operations aimed at detaining undocumented immigrants, particularly individuals of African-American descent.

Álvarez reportedly emphasized that the Dominican Republic is an open country and receives the highest percentage of North American tourists, according to Diario Libre, a new publication of the Dominican Republic.

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