Game of Drones: Dominican Republic using drones on its border to stop illegal immigration from Haiti.
A drone squadron operated by the Dominican Republic Army began operating along the border between this country and Haiti to detect and stop the flow of illegal immigrants and contraband. The Minister of Defense, Rubén Paulino, explained that it is "a great reinforcement of the border" that includes the use of helicopters, the installation of new surveillance cameras and the deployment of 900 soldiers and policemen. Paulino put the new operation into operation at the border post between Dajabón, 300kilometers northwest of the capital, and the Haitian town of Ouanaminthe . The military, helicopters and drones will be deployed along the 391-kilometer border line. Navy boats will also monitor the coast near the border.
The operation had been announced by President Danilo Medina in his last government report at the end of February in response to the demands of different political sectors demanding more controls to prevent the constant clandestine flow of Haitian immigrants. According to a 2012 United Nations study, in the Dominican Republic there were about 500,000 Haitian immigrants living without a residence permit. The number has increased and some local political groups estimate that around one million people. During the second half of the twentieth century, thousands of Haitians were taken to work in the Dominican sugarcane fields, but in the last two decades the profile of immigration has diversified and immigrants work in construction in cities and tourist centers such as street vendors, gardeners and domestic employees. Through a program created in 2014 by the government, nearly 200,000 Haitian immigrants obtained a permit to work in the country, but the authorities have insisted that those who have not regularized their status should return to their territory.
The former deputy Vinicio Castillo, whose National Progressive Force party has insisted for years that there is a supposed invasion of Haitian immigrants, considered that in addition to increasing surveillance on the border, the government must build a wall along the boundary line. Castillo presented during his term in Congress, which concluded in 2016, a bill for the construction of said wall. Paulino, Minister of Defense, said that the military and police that will be included in border surveillance were trained in human rights issues to avoid mistreating immigrants during arrests and repatriations. President Medina had also explained that the strengthening of the border also seeks to put an end to the corruption that for decades has allowed the clandestine flow of people, as well as weapons and drugs.