Writing in the Daily Signal last week, Steven Bucci – a former Army Special Forces officer and Pentagon official – criticized the Biden Administration’s selective application of its commitments to bring home “every wrongfully detained American” as the preventive detention crisis in the Dominican Republic goes unaddressed.

Bucci calls out a “double standard” in bringing home wrongfully detained Americans in other parts of the world while ignoring those held in the Dominican Republic. It is not even publicly known how many U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are being held in Dominican prisons under the guise of preventive detention.

Bucci reinforces what we at DJI previously noted: that “In 2022, President Joe Biden issued an executive order declaring a national emergency that ‘the wrongful detention of United States nationals abroad constitute[s] an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.’”

The executive order charges Secretary Blinken and the State Department to designate or identify officials of foreign governments “who are involved, directly or indirectly, in wrongful detentions”, however, the Biden Administration does not seem to be taking its own “national emergency” seriously as no such list exists even a year after the order was issued.

The Dominican Republic, according to Bucci, “should be at the top of any list” for its decades-long preventive detention crisis. “According to the executive order, the Secretary of State should be working to ‘secure the release of those held as hostages or wrongfully detained,’ whether they are citizens or lawful permanent residents” he adds, but there is currently no accounting from the Biden Administration to determine how many Americans are being held.

Despite calls from Congressional leaders to determine how many Americans are being wrongfully detained by the Dominican government and to investigate DOJ funding of programs that are unlawfully detaining Americans, the Biden Administration’s “double standard” persists.

“In my opinion, it is due to the administration’s inability to not allow political agendas to drive policy” Bucci explains. President Biden’s apathy and jumbled policies leave the U.S. “at the mercy of a handful of deplorable autocrats” because our own behavior has made it look like “our government values some citizens more than others.”

“If the plight of Americans detained by loathsome autocrats is really a priority, then the Biden-Blinken team needs to act, consistently, to apply pressure for their release” concludes Bucci, calling for “immediate action to secure the release of U.S. nationals wrongfully detained in the Dominican Republic” and “to designate the country’s government as responsible for the inappropriate detention crisis currently plaguing the nation.”

Read Steven Bucci’s full op-ed.