As questions arose as to whether or not American Airlines flights had been used to transport the migrant children recently separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, the airline released an official statement in response on Wednesday.
“The family separation process that has been widely publicized is not at all aligned with the values of American Airlines—we bring families together, not apart,” the statement read. It went on to explain that while the airline provides travel to the federal government through contracts and has transported refugees on behalf of both non-profit organizations and the government, the airline has “no knowledge that the federal government has used American to transport children who have been separated from their parents due to the recent immigration policy.”
According to this official release, American Airlines has requested that the government not use its flights in order to transport the children who have been separated from their families. “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.”
Other companies quickly followed suit with Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, releasing a statement via Facebook: “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 shared purpose 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.”
Frontier Airlines tweeted similar sentiments soon after as more airlines announced that they have requested to not be used in the transport of these migrant children. Delta Air Lines, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines are among the other companies who released similar statements in regards to this issue.
After facing weeks of backlash for this “zero-tolerance” approach to dealing with migrants crossing the U.S. border, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that would hold families together in immigrant detention as their cases are being processed.