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United asks feds not to use their aircraft to transport migrant children

United Airlines on Wednesday asked federal officials not to use the carrier to transfer migrant children who have been separated from their families at the southern border.

The company in a statement said it wants "no part" of the zero tolerance immigration policy that is leading to the separation of children from their families.

“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," United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement.

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“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," Munoz added.

Munoz said United has yet to see "evidence" that its aircrafts have been used to transport any of the separated children.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a statement said it's "unfortunate" that the airlines "no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of DHS to protect the traveling public," accusing the carriers of "buckling to a false media narrative."

"Despite being provided facts on this issue, these airlines clearly do not understand our immigration laws and the longstanding, devastating loopholes that have caused the crisis at our southern border," said DHS press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton.

"We wish the airlines would instead choose to be part of the solution. For 15 years, the Department of Homeland Security has worked diligently with America’s airlines to secure aviation and facilitate the travel by air of millions of Americans and visitors and we will continue to do so," Houlton added.

Munoz's statement follows a similar one issued by American Airlines, which said it also asked federal officials not to use the carrier to transfer any children who were separated from their families at the border.

The airlines' stances add to the mounting criticism and widespread condemnation of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April directed the Justice Department to prioritize the criminal prosecution of individuals trying to unlawfully cross the U.S.-Mexico border, an order that has lead to the separation of children from their families at the border.

The Associated Press last week reported that approximately 2,000 children were removed from their families in recent weeks.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE said Wednesday he plans to sign an executive order that will halt the separations. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate have criticized the policy and expressed support for legislation that would end the separations.

The House is slated to vote Thursday on two different immigration bills, while the Senate GOP this week expressed support for a bill that would end the separations.