Local January 7, 2013 | 10:09 am

Tense border: Hundreds of Haitians push to enter Dominican territory

Dajabón.- Tension reigns at the border crossing in the northwestern town of Dajabón and in Ouanaminthe on the Haitian side since Sunday afternoon, when around 700 Haitian nationals, accompanied by the priest Regino Martinez, head of the organization Border Solidarity, demand they’d be allowed to enter Dominican territory, as thousands of immigrants from the neighboring country mobilize in their support.

Dozens of police agents, Army soldiers and members of the Border Security Corps (Cesfront) arrived in two Air Force helicopters to maintain the situation under control.

The tension could hinder commerce in the cross border market held every Monday and Friday, during which Haitian vendors are allowed into Dajabon.

Armed Forces Ministry PR director Rafael Acosta Sena said Cesfront and the Immigration Agency are holding talks with Martinez to clarify why the Haitian nationals aren’t allowed across the border.

He said the priest and Dominican authorities agreed that dozens of undocumented Haitian workers traveling to visit their families in Haiti during the holidays can reenter the country, provided they had IDs from a Dominican employer and official documents from their country.

"It seems that most of them didn’t travel with the ID from their employers or presented documents from their country and therefore haven’t been allowed to enter Dominican territory," the official said, adding: "There are around 700 Haitians in the Ouanaminthe side and around 4,000 at the Dajabón bridge, pressing to let them cross."

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