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Dominican Republic begins work on Haiti biometric border wall

Dominican Republic begins work on Haiti biometric border wall

The government of the Dominican Republic commenced building a 392-kilometer border wall with Haiti that will include biometric features and surveillance to address migration and the smuggling of illicit goods, the Dominican president said.

The wall will include motion sensors, cameras, radars, drones, and a biometric control system designed by Dermalog that identifies people with its Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), which combines fingerprints, photographs, and demographic data, the Caribbean National Weekly (CNW) reports.

Dominican President Luis Abinader said at an inauguration event that the biometric border wall “will benefit the Dominican Republic and Haiti through the regulation of commercial and migratory cross-border flows as well as address the issues of smuggling, drug trafficking, and security,” according to the CNW.

The Dominican Republic, a Caribbean nation conjoined with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, has seen a stream of Haitian laborer’s who work under the table in the construction or agricultural industry. Haiti has faced enormous insecurity in recent years, marked by a 2010 earthquake that devastated the country and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July. By comparison, the Dominican Republic is a stable country with signs of strong economic performance and growth, which draws Haitian workers to the neighboring country.

A 2018 immigrant survey conducted by the Dominican Republic found about 500,000 Haitians and tens of thousands of their descendants residing in the country of 11 million. UK researcher Dr. Eve Hayes de Kalaf alleges that the Dominican government is using digital ID to discriminate against Haitians and people of Haitian-descent by refusing to document them, which denies them access to healthcare, education, and welfare.

CNW reports that President Abinader expressed solidarity with the Haitian people and hoped the country’s security and stability would be regained, but said at the inauguration, “With this act, we fulfill the sacred duty to defend the national security of our country and combat the threats that concern and affect us today.”

Dermalog provides biometric technology for border control to several other countries, including Thailand.

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