dominican soldiers haiti
Dominican Republic soldiers keep watch near a construction of a border wall that will cover almost half of the border with Haiti to stop irregular migration and criminal activities in Abanico, in Dajabon providence, Dominican Republic, February 20, 2022. (REUTERS/Fran Afonso)

NEW YORK –  The Dominican government says it has begun building a wall along the border separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, in an attempt to stem the flow of Haitians and illegal goods. 

The nearly 13-foot-high wall will span almost half of the 244 miles of land border separating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the island of Hispaniola. The wall is meant to stop large inflows of migrants and the smuggling of illicit goods like drugs or weapons, the government announced. The first phase should be complete within nine months

The fence’s construction “will serve to protect our nation, safeguard the interests of the country, respect dignity, our freedom, and defend our sovereignty,” Abinader said on Twitter, in a message translated to English. 

Human rights groups have estimated that at least 650,000 people of Haitian descent live in the DR, many of whom fled Haiti looking for work in construction, agriculture and other fields. 

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