A flight attendant for "a major U.S. airline" wrote in an op-ed Wednesday that he will no longer work on flights separating immigrant families.
Hunt Palmquist wrote in an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle that he had worked on two flights a few weeks ago where some of the passengers were Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and migrant children.
Palmquist wrote that for one of the flights, an ICE agent lied about the children and initially said the kids were traveling as part of a soccer team.
“When pressed, the agent finally admitted that they were, indeed children who were being relocated to assigned camps,” the attendant wrote.
Palmquist said that the children’s faces “were full of fear, confusion, sadness and exhaustion” and that he is left “somewhat traumatized” after realizing he had played a role in their being separated from their families.
The flight attendant said that moving forward, he “will no longer be complicit” and will not work any flights transporting the separated migrant children.
“This inhumane separation of migrant children from their families is against the morals and principles instilled in me, as well as my religious and spiritual teachings,” Palmquist wrote.
“This is not the American citizen that I was raised to be nor the one that I will embrace. What we are experiencing is painful, unnecessary and completely unacceptable and I feel somewhat ashamed that it took me this long to process these feelings,” he continues. “I keep kicking myself for not trusting my gut and walk off of both of those flights.”
Several major airlines, including United, American and Frontier airlines, all said Wednesday that they will no longer partner with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to transport the migrant children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A DHS spokesman claimed the airlines were "buckling to a false media narrative” in choosing to not partner with the agency.
President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents at the southern border, after facing weeks of intense criticism for the policy.