It's an issue that's inciting strong emotions.

Understandably.

As migrant children are being torn from the parents and flown to detention centers some describe as cages, many rail about the inhuman nature of the government's behavior.

Someone, though, is transporting these children to their detention.

American Airlines employees say their airline is involved and they can't bear it.

In strong Facebook posts they plead with their airline to do something.

For example, this from Ian Funderburg, a Flight Attendant at American.

He posted a letter he says he sent to his vice-president of inflight services.

It read in part: 

Recently on a flight from Dallas to Miami, I had the displeasure of transporting eight young boys, estimated between the ages nine to fifteen, dressed in gray sweatsuits along with their escort - a cold hearted woman who scowled at our attempts to communicate with the frightened children. Of course they spoke no English, and my Spanish is limited, but we got the job done.

Their situation weighed on me the entire flight, playing multiple scenarios in my head, and it broke my heart. Knowing that I was transporting innocent children to their detention and possible deportation goes against every moral fiber in my body. To me, it felt like "justified" human trafficking, and indeed was one of the aformentioned scenarios. These children have committed no crime, nor have their family members by seeking a better life away from a troublesome and often dangerous lives in their homeland.

Funderburg says he isn't alone is feeling horrified and wanting the airline to take a stand.

Another American Flight Attendant, Anika Łodzinski posted what she said was her coworker's account of such a flight:

Children! Thirty-two scared eyes looking straight forward dazed. We try to speak, yet none speak English. During the beverage service, one of the crew comes to me in tears. They can't face these children that have been ripped from their families with a smile.

These children were probably ranging in age from 11, to the most adorable little girl maybe 6 years old. At 2:30 in the morning, deplaned here in Miami not knowing if they will ever see their loved ones again that they were separated from in Phoenix.

American isn't alone in enjoying government contracts. Many airlines do.

I contacted American for its view. 

The airline said it had "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."

It added: 

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.

Management must have known, however, that it was likely at least some of these children would be put on American flights.

It seems that only pressure from its own employees has led to the airline taking a stand.

Airlines are very concerned about relations with their Flight Attendants these days. 

But who wouldn't be devastated to see innocent kids being flown to a future that may only involve lifelong trauma?

For its part, United Airlines tried to get ahead of any potential accusations of involvement.

Its CEO Oscar Munoz offered this statement: 

Based on some research we have done internally and public reports, we have not seen evidence these children have been flown on United aircraft.

Based on our serious concerns about this policy and how it's in deep conflict with our company's values, we have contacted federal officials to inform them that they should not transport immigrant children on United aircraft who have been separated from their parents. 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 and we want no part of it.

For its part, the Department of Homeland Seucrity isn't impressed with the airline's new stance.

Its spokesman, Tyler Q. Houlton, offered this on Twitter

It's unfortunate that @AmericanAir, @united, and @FlyFrontier no longer want 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.

Oddly, President Trump (perhaps) says he will (perhaps) now stop the child separations. 

Published on: Jun 20, 2018