Not on our watch

Not on our watch
Airlines object to flying separated families.
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

American, Frontier, Southwest, Delta , Spirit 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.

“Delta’s mission is to connect people and we are against anything that runs contrary to that mission. Recent reports of families being separated are disheartening and do not align with Delta’s core values.

We applaud the Administration’s Executive Order resolving the issue of separating children from their families at the U.S. border.”

American Airlines said “We have therefore requested the federal government to immediately refrain from using American for the purpose of transporting children who have been separated from their families due to the current immigration policy. We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it. We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so.”

United said, “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. Our company’s mission is to connect people and unite the world. This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it.”

Spirit Airlines released this statement, “While we acknowledge a reversal in federal policy, Spirit Airlines’ policy has remained the same. We will not knowingly participate in transporting immigrant children away from their parents and families. Our mission is to bring friends and families together.”

Frontier Tweeted: “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.”

Even after Trump signed his executive order modifying the Government policy, After Trump signed the order, Southwest issued a statement saying the airline did “not wish to have involvement in the process of separating children from their parents.”

“Therefore, we appeal to anyone making those types of travel decisions not to utilize Southwest Airlines,” the airline said.

Tyler Houlton, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman responded by 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.”

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