American Airlines has told US immigration officials to ‘immediately refrain’ from using its planes to fly children separated from their families

An American Airlines Airbus A319.

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An American Airlines Airbus A319.
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Airbus

  • American Airlines said in a statement on Wednesday that it had told the United States government not to use its planes to transport children who have been separated from their parents by immigration officials at the US-Mexico border.
  • The airline said it did not have knowledge of any incidents in which separated children were transported on its planes.
  • American and other airlines are under contract with the US government to provide transportation services.

The United States government has been put on notice by American Airlines.

The country’s largest airline said in a statement on Wednesday that it had notified the federal government that it does not want any children who have been separated from their families by immigration officials at the US-Mexico border to be transported on its planes.

“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, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said in the statement, adding, “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.”

American Airlines, along with several other major US carriers, is under contract with the government to provide transportation services for myriad purposes, including employee work trips and even deportations.

However, the US government does not disclose the nature of its travel plans to the airlines, American said.

The airline said it was not aware of any incidents in which separated children have been transported on its planes.

In recent weeks, outcry has grown over the treatment of immigrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, including the forced separation of children from their parents and the use of large holding facilities along the border.

Here is the full statement from American Airlines:

“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.”