As President Donald Trump did his best to worm his way out of a self-inflicted crisis Wednesday afternoon, issuing an executive order that halts the separation immigrant children from their parents if the parents are arrested crossing the U.S. border, two of Dallas' biggest companies made it clear that they don't want to play any role in cleaning up the mess.
American Airlines was out first during the early afternoon, issuing a statement saying that the zero-tolerance policy issued by Trump's Department of Justice in April is not in line with the company's values.
"We bring families together, not apart," the airline said. "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 nonprofits 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."
According to the airline, it's asked the federal government not to use its flights to transport any children who've been separated from their parents as part of the Trump zero-tolerance initiative.
"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,” the airline said.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Southwest quickly followed American with a similar statement.
"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," the airline said.
After their statements, Tyler Houlton, the Department of Homeland Security's spokesman, attacked the airlines, accusing them of "no longer want[ing] 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," Houlton said. "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."