American, United airlines 'want no part' of flying migrant kids torn from parents

  • American Airlines jets line up June 16 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. The carrier and United Airlines told the White House they do not wish to transport migrant children severed from their parents by the government.

    American Airlines jets line up June 16 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. The carrier and United Airlines told the White House they do not wish to transport migrant children severed from their parents by the government. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/20/2018 4:12 PM

American and United Airlines' leaders pushed back against the federal government Wednesday, saying they did not want to fly migrant children separated from their parents.

The move came hours before President Donald Trump reversed the wildly unpopular "zero tolerance" policy that's torn apart migrant families at the U.S./Mexican border since April and sparked outrage over photos, video and recordings of anguished children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We want no part of it," United CEO Oscar Munoz said.

Both airlines said they requested the government to stop using their aircraft to transport children separated from their parents due to the recent immigration tactics.

The "practice is not at all aligned with the values of American Airlines -- we bring families together, not apart," the carrier stated. "We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it."

Munoz noted, "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."

The federal government contracts with both airlines to carry passengers, such as refugees, for various reasons. But typically, the government does not disclose personal information about those fliers or the purpose of the trips.

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Munoz said United checked its records and did not believe any of the affected children had flown on its aircraft.

American executives said they had no knowledge their planes were used for that purpose and "would be extremely disappointed to learn that is the case."

The Trump administration previously had defended the practice saying the children were being treated humanely and had to be taken from their parents who were being charged with a crime for entering the U.S. illegally.

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