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While President Donald Trump has declared an end to his family separation policy, the tension around what it all means has yet to subside. Meanwhile, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman is creating low-stakes drama of his own: He’s upset at three airlines for tweeting.
Today, United, American Airlines, and Frontier said that they would not like to participate in transporting kids who have been forcibly separated from their parents.
It was a modest bit of #brand #resistance.
United asks U.S. government not to fly separated immigrant children on our aircraft. pic.twitter.com/MPPbhO6aqV— United Airlines (@united) June 20, 2018
Check on View all news to see our statement: https://t.co/LS0P7pFEyZ— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) June 20, 2018
Asking the government to not do that is, one would think, a legitimate request for a private company to make that probably has solid First (and Third!) Amendment footing. But the spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, who enforced the policy, didn’t take kindly to these statements and tweets.
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.— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) June 20, 2018
Claiming airlines no longer want to protect the traveling public is flat-out wild coming from DHS press secretary. Also, it’s not clear how airlines flying detained, migrant children within the continental U.S. combats human trafficking. And these airlines only asked to not fly children being taken from their parents, not children being reunited with their parents.
Anyway, these airlines should have nuanced positions on immigration, he believes.
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.— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) June 20, 2018
And there is never not a time for the Trump administration to evoke “fake news.”
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.— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) June 20, 2018
And, you know, defensiveness.
For 15 years, @DHSgov has worked diligently with America’s airlines to secure aviation and facilitate the travel by air of millions of Americans and visitors and we will continue to do so.— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) June 20, 2018
One would hope a DHS official wouldn’t quit defending America over two airlines disagreeing with the administration’s policy.
But also, maybe he should?
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]