American Airlines says it has asked the federal government not to use its flights to transport migrant children separated from their families under the White House’s current immigration policy.
“We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it,” the airline said in a statement Wednesday. “We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so.”
More than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border since the White House announced a “zero tolerance policy” regarding border crossings. Under the policy, adult migrants are arrested for criminal prosecution and separated from any children with whom they are traveling. The children are then kept in detention centers.
The policy has prompted widespread criticism as images and recordings of children kept in cages and crying inside those detention centers have been broadcast.
American Airlines said it was not aware if the government has used any of its flights to transport children who have been separated from their parents, and that it would be “extremely disappointed to learn that this is the case.”
“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 airline said.
United Airlines offered a similar sentiment in a statement sent shortly after the message from American Airlines was published.
“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 ion United aircraft who have been separated from their parents,” reads United’s statement. Our company’s shared purpose is to connect people and united 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.”
It’s unclear, however, what American, United or any other airline could do to prevent the government from flying separated children on their aircraft.