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Homeland Security press secretary fired back at United and American Airlines after they told the US government not to fly children separated from their parents on their planes (AAL, UAL)

Mark Matousek
department of homeland security

Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press


  • The Department of Homeland Security's press secretary, Tyler Houlton, criticized American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines on Wednesday.
  • Earlier, the airlines had told the United States government to refrain from flying migrant children separated from their families on their aircraft.
  • Houlton said the airlines did not understand US immigration laws and were making decisions based on "a false media narrative."


Department of Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton responded on Wednesday to American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines after the airlines said in separate statements they had told the United States government to refrain from flying migrant children separated from their families on their aircraft.

Houlton criticized the airlines, saying they did not understand US immigration laws and were making decisions based on "a false media narrative."

"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 in a tweet.

"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," Houlton said in another tweet.

On Wednesday, American, Frontier, and United said they had told the federal government they did not want it to transport children who had been separated from their families on their planes.

American, Frontier, and United have not found evidence that the federal government had placed migrant children who were separated from their families on their aircraft, the airlines said.

President Donald Trump's administration has been criticized for separating parents caught entering the US illegally from their children as part of its "zero-tolerance" policy. Over 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents and placed in holding facilities as a result of the policy since early May.

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order ending the administration's practice of separating migrant families, but maintaining the "zero-tolerance" policy.

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