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Border security has become a chief concern for the Dominican Republic as gang violence has flung the neighboring nation of Haiti into chaos, prompting tighter border security and deportations. 

An estimated 5 million people in Haiti are in need of humanitarian aid and some 362,000 Haitians have been internally displaced across the country.

In the capital of Port-au-Prince, where 160,000 people have been displaced, extreme violence remains high and gangs are believed to control 80% of the city.

But despite the increasingly dire situation just a six-hour drive from Haiti’s capital to the border with the Dominican Republic, Haitian refugees have not been permitted to enter the only other nation on the shared island of Hispaniola.

Haiti Gangs

Some 160,000 people have been displaced in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph/File)


On Monday, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) said some 17,000 people fled Port-au-Prince in less than a week amid the abrupt resignation of Haitian interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Dominican President Luis Abinader made headlines this month when he made a call for action during a U.N. Security Council meeting, warning that “either we fight together to save Haiti, or we will fight alone to protect the Dominican Republic.”

DR Border wall with Haiti

This view shows the wall being built by the Dominican Republic on the border with Haiti in March 2023. (Erika Santelices/AFP via Getty Images)

It is unclear how many Haitians have attempted to flee to the Dominican Republic, though the IOM found that the majority of displaced Haitians intend to stay in the country, while 3% mean to travel to the neighboring nation and 1% plan to make their way to the U.S. or Brazil.   

A Dominican Republic soldier organizes Haitians crossing the border after they were allowed into a farmers market for needed essentials and trade in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on March 18, 2024. (Reuters/Fran Afonso)

The unrest has caused some concern in the international community that there could be incidents of mass migration as Haitians look to flee the violence at home, though they are unlikely to be able to successfully flee by foot. 

Abinader has already taken steps to safeguard the border from the neighboring crisis by blocking Haitian refugees, deporting undocumented Haitians and continuing the construction of an extensive border wall – though he has allowed Haitians to cross the Dajabon border checkpoint to access a market where they can buy and sell goods.


Dominican Republic soldiers keep watch before opening the gate to allow Haitians to cross the border after they were allowed into a farmers market for needed essentials and trade in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on March 18, 2024. (Reuters/Fran Afonso)

A 12-foot wall, dubbed a “smart security fence” by the Dominican authorities, runs roughly 100 miles along the border with Haiti.

The fence, which has been under construction for more than two years, relies on technology like drones, 360-degree cameras and night vision to allow Dominican soldiers to focus on other security measures, like patrols, a commander told Fox News correspondent Bryan Llenas. 

Haitian residents get off a truck to be deported at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in Dajabon province, Dominican Republic, on March 17, 2024. (Reuters/Fran Afonso)

Despite some criticism toward the hard-line stance barring Haitians from seeking refuge in the neighboring nation, Dominican authorities maintain that the border fence has helped to protect against Haitian gangs as well as cut down on vehicle, motor and livestock thefts.

Some in the U.S. have looked to the success that the Dominican Republic has had in heavily regulating border crossings as validation that policies like a wall could improve immigration woes closer to home.


Migrants crossing into Texas along southern border

A U.S. Border Patrol agent watches over more than 2,000 migrants at a field processing center in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Dec. 18, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

“The Biden administration has politicized and emotionalized [the] border wall, making them the enemy instead of recognizing them for the national security asset they’ve historically proven to be. The president must wake up to the reality that strong border security measures and effective policies are vital to national security,” Texas Republican Rep. August Pfluger, who sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, told Fox News Digital.

When pressed about whether the U.S. was working with its Dominican counterparts to encourage it to open its borders to refugees, a State Department official told Fox News Digital they would not comment on private diplomatic discussions.

Fox News’ Bryan Llenas and Maria Paronich contributed to this report.


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