Three national airlines have announced they do not want to transport migrants’ children from the so-called “cages” in spartan border-facilities to the government’s safe dormitory-like shelters in California, New York, and other states.
The corporate opposition to the federal government’s law-enforcement program was denounced by Tyler Houlton, press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security:
It’s unfortunate that American, United, and Frontier Airlines no longer want to partner with the brave men and women of DHS to protect the traveling public, combat human trafficking, and to swiftly reunite unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with their families.
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. Buckling to a false media narrative only exacerbates the problems at our border and puts more children at risk from traffickers.
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.”
Federal law requires that the children and youths, from ages around 6 to 17, cannot be kept in federal jails with their parents. So they are flown from temporary facilities on the border to more dorm-like shelters in California and other states, pending the resolution of the legal cases against the adults who brought them into the United States. Once the legal proceedings are completed, the children are released back to their parents.
It is not clear if the airlines will break their government contracts to block the transport of the children, or if they will simply declare their opposition.
Houlton’s statement did not say if the government will cancel its contracts with the airlines if the airlines refuse tickets to the DHS groups.
The corporate boycott began after progressives reacted to an emotional post by a flight attendant:
American Airlines declared:
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. American, like many U.S. airlines, provides travel to the federal government through contracts; however, the government does not disclose information about the nature of the flights it takes or the passengers who are traveling. While we have carried refugees for non-profits and the government, many of whom are being reunited with family or friends, we have 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, but we would be extremely disappointed to learn that is the case.
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. 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.