Department of Homeland Security Blasts American, United for Not Wanting to Transport Kids Separated from Families

Earlier today I wrote about flight attendants expressing concern over transporting kids who were being separated from their families as they’re split up under immigration laws.

No matter how you feel about politics or immigration policy, it’s difficult not to feel for the children involved. And if you’re crew working a flight that’s transporting kids away from their parents, it can be a gut wrenching thing to be a part of just on a human level.

An American Airlines flight attendant emailed me today,

[W]e transported 6 children on our flight. They weren’t allowed to speak to us. We were not allowed to GIVE them food that we sell on our flights. Their “handlers” answered for them when we asked them what they would like to drink. Their “handlers” ate our food and watched movies with ear buds that we show on our flights. The girls would NOT make eye contact with us. One of the children sat and cried most of the flight. They were in sweatsuits and kept in single file line. Mind you…. it’s 100 degrees outside. We were told they were being taken to be relocated in their new homes. In reality….. they were being taken to detention centers.

Another girl had 16 and a similar situation

FAs are starting to revolt. People are emailing Jill and some are starting to refuse to work the flights.

So both American Airlines and United have expressed solidarity with their crew, which isn’t surprising.

  • American says they asked 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.”

  • United says while they “have not seen evidence these children have been flown on United aircraft” they “have contacted federal officials to inform them that they should not transport immigrant children on United aircraft who have been separated from their parents.”

It’s not clear what if anything this request would change. The federal government will or won’t choose to book tickets at their contracted fares for the passengers of their choice.

Nonetheless the Department of Homeland Security has come out swinging against both airlines.

The Department of Homeland Security spokesperson does not provide further details, unfortunately, on their plan “to swiftly reunite unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with their families.”

Delta has also come out with a statement that says “Delta’s mission is to connect people and we are against anything that runs contrary to that mission.” They did not call out the administration’s immigration policies, or flying children separated from parents on their aircraft. They did, however, “applaud the Administration” for its “Executive Order resolving the issue of separating children from their families at the U.S. border.” Delta especially has flattered the President in service of its lobbying ends. Here are details on that executive order.

By the way, for folks who would rather debate immigration I’ll offer this video of Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush debating what to do about children and immigration during the 1980 Republic Presidential primaries. I think it’s instructive.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Als

    Bwahahahahahaha!!!! Anyone dumb enough to believe that bs? I don’t think so!!! Obama separated hundreds of thousand of families. He had EIGHT YEARS to fix it and like so many other things he failed. But there is good news!!! QUOTE: “Don’t worry, the Republicans and your President will fix it.” President Donald Trump


  2. @Greg: With an IQ lower than a chimp with Down’s, you should stop trying to guess what other people are like. Instead, stick to something you have a reasonable chance of success at — such as precisely pouring milk over a bowl of cold cereal. Greg is just being a whiny little bitch because he was proven a congenital liar and that his claims of being a veteran were a myth.

    P.S.: Your mom likes me just fine. 😉

  3. @Jim: Als is an idiot. Actually, under Obama things were worse. He decided to allow families to remain together while in custody, then entered into a consent agreement to keep them together no more than 20 days. After 20 days he allowed the criminal alien with their family to enter the general society while waiting their court date. As we all know, very few showed up for their hearings / deportations and they just disappeared into the population. This is one reason why we have so many illegal aliens now and so many of their children leeching off taxpayers.

  4. I really can’t fathom some people’s way of thinking. Doesn’t matter if under the Obama administration this sort of thing happened also, or if it only happened under Trump, what matters is that IT’S HAPPENING. Why are some people glad this is happening? Families being separated. Imagine yourself being separated from your child or you, at 6 years old, separated from your parents. “Illegal aliens leeching off taxpayers” Get your head out of the damn gutter, there are regular Americans that do nothing, and waste their lives leeching off others. There’s hard workers and procrastinators in all societies and races, yet that still doesn’t excuse what’s being done to these families. People that are glad this is happening because “They took our jobs” “They’re living under taxpayer’s money” are plain ignorant and dimwitted.

  5. @Aaron I don’t recall reading where any is “glad” this is happening. Perhaps you can enlighten us?

    And it does matter that it happened under obama. The left is trying to paint Trump as if he is completely responsible for this policy when nothing could be further from the truth. The past administration had their entire eight years to fix this and failed to do so. Dems warned against politicizing the topic back then, but now of course it’s open season.

    Since you brought up the subject of “tax payers money” can you guess how much is spent on illegals across the country including welfare, housing, schools, prisons, etc, etc? Or have you no clue?

  6. @Jim —> I would say, and I hope you’ll hear me out, that it *does* matter that it’s happening under this President, but that it doesn’t matter what party affiliation, nor which end of the political spectrum he is on. It matters that it’s happening under this President because it’s happening NOW. You cannot change what happened in the past, be it a policy under the Obama Administration, or a policy under Reagan — you simply can’t change what has already happened, and to point fingers here and there accomplishes nothing. It is simply divisive and gets us and our country nowhere. It doesn’t matter whether the current occupant is a Democrat or a Republican, left or right, white or black, male or female — it only matters that it’s happening now, and now is the time we can change it.

    The biggest problem is that people today seem far more interested in pointing fingers rather than working together to resolve the issues.

  7. @Jason Brandt Lewis It only matters now because we have a Republican in the White House. You can pretend you are concerned but reality is this issue is only being used to attack the current administration. The left isn’t the least bit interested in working together, and have in fact refused to do so in order to “Keep the issue focused on Trump”. Try investigating senile Pelosi and her comments then and now, or Menendez (D – NJ) who has accuse Trump of “Abusing Innocent Children” yet he himself is accused of consorting with underage prostitutes. So yes; I agree that democrats are “The biggest problem” because they are in fact “far more interested in pointing fingers rather than working together to resolve the issues.”


  8. Why should illegals get special treatment? If i commit a crime I go to jail-away from my children. If you don’t want that to happen, keep them out, Put up the wall!

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