Airlines are among the most visible enterprises doing business with the US government as it carries out immigration policies. This week, major US carriers issued statements saying they would not transport children who had been separated from their detained parents by American authorities.
Here is where the biggest American carriers stand and what they have had to say:
Airlines that have issued statements against the policy
|American Airlines||“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.”|
|Frontier Airlines||Frontier prides itself on being a family airline and we will not knowingly allow our flights to be used to transport migrant children away from their families. At this time, we are not aware if Frontier has been used for this purpose.|
|United Airlines||“United asks U.S. government not to fly separated immigrant children on our aircraft.”|
|Southwest Airlines||“We do not wish to have involvement in the process of separating children from their parents. Therefore, we appeal to anyone making those types of travel decisions not to utilize Southwest Airlines.”|
|Alaskan Airlines||“To our knowledge, we haven’t transported any immigrant children who have been separated from their families, and today informed the government we do not want to do so.”|
|Spirit Airlines||“We will not knowingly participate in transporting immigrant children away from their parents and families.”|
Airlines that have not expressed disagreement
|Jet Blue||No statement|
|Allegiant Air||No statement|
|Hawaiian||No statement, though the company does not operate flights to Latin America|
|Envoy Air||No statement, though the company does not operate flights to Latin America|
|ExpressJet||No statement, though the company does not operate flights to Latin America|
|SkyWest Airlines||No statement, though the company does not operate flights to Latin America|
Airlines that haven’t take a position
Delta, which didn’t speak up before Donald Trump signed the executive order yesterday (June 20) easing the “zero tolerance” policy his administration had imposed, issued a statement right afterward praising the president’s change edict:
“Delta’s mission is to connect people and we are against anything that runs contrary to that mission. Recent reports of families being separated are disheartening and do not align with Delta’s core values. We applaud the administration’s executive order resolving the issue of separating children from their families at the US border.”
Other airlines—and other deportations
All of the statements issued by airlines refer specifically to the transfer of children separated from their parents; airlines have not expressed their positions when it comes to deportations and transport that doesn’t involve children.
There are many charter airlines that don’t operate scheduled flights and can still be used by the US government to repatriate asylum seekers who have been denied refugee status. Among them: Xtra Airways, based in Coral Gables, Florida, has reportedly been carrying deported immigrants back to Mexico on behalf of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is one of many private companies—including logistics and security contractors—profiting off the tightened immigration grip adopted by the administration.