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“When I saw it, it broke my heart,” Local man responds to Haiti migration in Texas

Joe Hurston, founder and pilot for Air Mobile Ministries, is using his services to help those in Haiti.
Asylum-seeking migrants rest under the International Bridge in Del Rio between Mexico and the...
Asylum-seeking migrants rest under the International Bridge in Del Rio between Mexico and the U.S. on Sept. 15, 2021. The sheriff in Val Verde County estimates that about 70% of the migrants are from Haiti.(Credit: REUTERS/Go Nakamura)
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 4:35 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from an encampment at a Texas border town, U.S. officials said Monday as they defended a strong response that included immediately deporting migrants to their impoverished Caribbean country and using horse patrols to stop them from entering the town.

Joe Hurston, founder and pilot for Air Mobile Ministries out of Sneedville, Tennessee, is helping the area now.

“This is extraordinary. We’ve seen a lot of Haitians on boats get lost. This time, a very large group organized and hit this very weak spot on the boarder fence. They’re desperate,” said Hurston. “I don’t condone or encourage them to do this because its probably not going to end well.”

Hurston told WVLT News that he has lived and worked in the country for more than four decades. Overall, he’s working to give people a better quality of life.

Hurston flew into Haiti on Saturday after being in Louisiana, helping Hurricane Ida victims.

He flew alone and is living in a town outside of Port Au Prince.

He is still working to provide clean water to thousands with his water purification systems. It can produce up to 25 gallons of clean water every hour, which is enough to reach 500 people everyday.

He also tells WVLT that he is trying to keep those in Haiti from leaving the country.

“I’m glad that in the background, we can do a little something to keep some of them home,” he said.

Hurston is using his private plane to fly in food, cleaning supplies and more.

“When I saw it, it broke my heart,” said Hurston.

Hurston also helped in Haiti following the fatal earthquake back in August. There he brought 10 water purifiers, which could provide water to up to 1,000 people, to the hardest hit areas by way of his private plane.

Hurston is encouraging East Tennesseans to donate to trusted local groups who are tirelessly trying to make a difference in Haiti.

Some local groups include:

Air Mobile Ministries

Haiti Outreach

God’s Planet for Haiti

The Haiti Committee of Immaculate Conception Parish

One Vision

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