Members of US Congress have asked US President Joe Biden to condition assistance to Tunisia on its respect of democracy, a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
The members of Congress warned of a "stark acceleration in Tunisia's autocratic consolidation" under President Kais Saied, who has ousted all state institutions.
At the same time, the lawmakers decried the Tunisian leader's "repugnant, racist and xenophobic remarks about migrants."
In the letter, Biden's administration was urged to "ensure that any US foreign assistance to Tunisia supports the restoration of inclusive, democratic governance and rule of law."
READ: Tunisia rejects calls to end civilian trials in military courts
They also stressed that the US should make sure any aid "directly supports Tunisians in dire economic need, and does not strengthen the hand of those, including the internal security services, that have exacerbated repression and authoritarianism under [President Kais] Saied."
The letter comes in the wake of the detention campaign that has targeted Tunisian opposition figures, activists, journalists and businessmen in Tunisia.
Several of the detainees, who had met with US diplomats, were charged with conspiring against state security. I'm addition to racist remarks by Saied against Sub-Saharan African migrants in Tunisia.
"Not only do these alarming developments and Tunisia's continued autocratic consolidation endanger the country's stability in a period of deep economic insecurity, they raise serious concerns about the future of the US-Tunisia relationship," the letter added.
"We urge the [US] administration to make clear that President Saied's racist and xenophobic remarks are unacceptable, and work with partner governments and intergovernmental bodies such as the African Union to coordinate a clear and sustained message of strong support for democratic institutions and the right to peaceful expression in Tunisia."
READ: Tunisia: European commissioner reaffirms attachment to democracy and rule of law