Family

United Airlines and American Airlines Will Not Transport Immigrant Children

But the Department of Homeland Security says these two air carriers are 'buckling to a false media narrative'

United Airlines on Wednesday afternoon joined American Airlines in refusing to fly kids separated from adults with whom they illegally crossed the U.S. southern border, as more drama unfolds in the continuing and red-hot border crisis.

“At United Airlines, we have been concerned about reports that commercial airlines have been used to transport immigrant children separated from their parents by a newly implemented immigration enforcement policy,” United said, in part, in its statement, as multiple outlets including the Chicago Tribune reported.

American Airlines also said in a statement earlier Wednesday that it has “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.”

All of this occurred before President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday afternoon ending the separation of migrant families trying to enter this country.

The American Airlines statement from Wednesday continued, “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.”

The airline issued the statement after questions arose on Facebook over whether it had transported children split from their parents or other family members at the border. American acknowledged that it provides travel services to the U.S. government through contracts, but said it 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” and “would be extremely disappointed to learn that is the case.”

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“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.

It also said “the government does not disclose information about the nature of the flights it takes or the passengers who are traveling.”

Related: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi Weigh In on Border Kids (What Took Them So Long?)

The airline released the statement after a recent Facebook post claimed children were “dressed as criminals” when they traveled on a recent flight from Arizona to Florida. The Facebook post said “16 scared little souls” arrived in Miami last week, “not knowing if they will ever see their loved ones again that they were separated from in Phoenix.”

The Facebook user who posted the missive claimed to be a friend of a flight attendant whose co-worker initially wrote about the incident, said CBS News.

Department of Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton issued a statement saying it’s “unfortunate” that the three airlines “no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of DHS to protect the traveling public,” adding that the carriers are “buckling to a false media narrative,” as The Hill reported.

“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.

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor with LifeZette. Follow her on Twitter.

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