Dominican authorities have expelled at least 1,800 unaccompanied Haitian migrant children this year, sending them back to their crisis-stricken country, UNICEF said.

The Dominican Republic denied the claim, which came Tuesday amid the government’s intensifying crackdown on migration in response to a cholera outbreak and ongoing gang violence in Haiti.

The two countries share a 240-mile (390-kilometer) border on the island of Hispaniola. The crackdown has provoked harsh criticism by international observers, including the United States, which have accused the country of mass deportations, racist treatment of migrants and detentions of Haitians in facilities with poor conditions.

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