American Airlines asks government not to use planes to transfer migrant children

American Airlines on Wednesday asked the federal government not to use its planes to transfer migrant children separated from their families at the United States’ southern border.

In a statement, American said the “zero tolerance” policy currently being implemented at the border “is not at all aligned with” the company’s values.

{mosads}“We have therefore 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,” the statement read.

“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.”

American said it is not currently aware of the government using the airline to transfer children who were removed from their families, but it would be “extremely disappointed” if officials were doing so.

The Department of Homeland Security in a statement said it’s “unfortunate” that airlines such as American and United “no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of DHS to protect the traveling public” and accused 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 long-standing devastating loopholes that have caused the crisis at our southern border,” said 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.

The airlines’ stance comes as the Trump administration continues to face the fallout from its border policy, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled in April. Sessions had instructed the Justice Department to prioritize the criminal prosecution of individuals attempting to unlawfully cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

That directive has led to the separation of children from their families at the border, with The Associated Press reporting last week that approximately 2,000 children were removed from their families in recent weeks.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate have condemned the separations and expressed support for legislation that would end them. The lower chamber is slated to take up two pieces of immigration legislation on Thursday.

President Trump, who said Tuesday he supports the House GOP efforts on immigration “1,000 percent,” on Wednesday said he will sign “something” to end the separations.

“I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that,” the president said at the White House. “I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure.”

—Updated at 2:36 p.m.

Tags American Airlines American Airlines Donald Trump Immigration Jeff Sessions separating families Transportation Zero tolerance

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