American, Frontier, Southwest and United airlines each refused Wednesday to fly immigrant children separated from their parents for the federal government, as President Trump ordered a halt to separations as part of his “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented border crossings.
All four airlines said they had no evidence that they have transported children under the policy yet. But they each said the policy runs counter to their corporate goals of connecting people.
“Based on our serious concerns about this policy and how it’s in deep conflict with our company’s values, we have contacted federal officials to inform them that they should not transport immigrant children on United aircraft who have been separated from their parents,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said. “This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it.”
United asks U.S. government not to fly separated immigrant children on our aircraft. pic.twitter.com/MPPbhO6aqV
— United Airlines (@united) June 20, 2018
American also issued a statement that the separation policy is not aligned with the airline’s values.
“We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it,” the statement said. “We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so.”
Frontier stated its opposition to transporting immigrant children separated from their parents in a tweet.
“Frontier prides itself on being a family airline and we will not knowingly allow our flights to be used to transport migrant children away from their families,” the airline said in the tweet. “At this time, we are not aware if Frontier has been used for this purpose.”
Frontier prides itself on being a family airline and we will not knowingly allow our flights to be used to transport migrant children away from their families. At this time, we are not aware if Frontier has been used for this purpose.
— Frontier Airlines (@FlyFrontier) June 20, 2018
Tyler Houlton, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman, called the decisions by American, United and Frontier airlines “unfortunate.”
“Despite being provided facts on this issue, these airlines clearly do not understand our immigration laws and the long-standing devastating loopholes that have caused the crisis at our southern border,” Houlton said. “Buckling to a false media narrative only exacerbates the problems at our border and puts more children at risk from traffickers.”
President Trump said Wednesday at a White House meeting with lawmakers that he hoped an executive order ending family separations at the border would be followed by legislation. He signed the order after the meeting that specifies immigrant families would be kept together to the extent that the law and funding allowed while criminal and immigration proceedings were conducted.
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