SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) – The Dominican Republic will begin constructing a fence along its 376-kilometer (234 mi) border with Haiti later this year to curb unauthorized migration and illicit trade, President Luis Abinader said on Saturday.
“In a period of two years, we want to put an end to the serious problems of illegal immigration, drug trafficking and the movement of stolen vehicles,” Abinader said in a presentation to Congress.
Construction of the border fence, whose cost has not been disclosed, will begin in the second half of 2021, Abinader said.
The barrier will include a double-fence in the “most conflictive” sections, along with motion sensors, facial recognition cameras and infrared systems, he added, speaking on the 177th anniversary of the country’s independence from Haiti.
According to government estimates, about 500,000 Haitian immigrants resided in the Dominican Republic as of 2018, along with tens of thousands of their children born in the Caribbean country. A large part of the Haitian community, which makes up about 5% of the total population, does not have residency permits.
The announcement came a month after the government agreed to help Haiti provide identity documents to its citizens living in Dominican territory.
(Reporting by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez; Editing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Leslie Adler)