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As U.S. airlines resist flying immigrant children taken from parents, Volaris offers to reunite families

As U.S. airlines resist flying immigrant children taken from parents, Volaris offers to reunite families
Volaris, a low-cost Mexico-based carrier, has offered free seats on its planes to reunite immigrant children with their parents. (Claudio Cruz / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Several of the nation’s biggest airlines, including American and United, last week jumped into the fray over children who were being separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policy.

The carriers notified the U.S. government — and the public — that they wished to have no part in transporting those children to detention centers after they were taken from their parents after crossing the U.S. southern border.

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On Friday, Volaris, the low-cost Mexican airline, announced that it was going one step further. The carrier said it would offer free seats on its planes to reunite those children with their families in Mexico and Central America.

“Since its founding, Volaris’ mission has been to unite families,” the airline said in a statement. “Families belong together and our commitment is to help them stay together to better build their future.”

The airline has yet to be contacted by immigrant families to take advantage of the offer, but the carrier plans to spread its message over the next few weeks on social media, Volaris spokeswoman Ana Ambrosi said.

Volaris, which operates out of Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, has already contacted Mexico’s Foreign Ministry to offer its help, she said.

In the U.S., American, United and Frontier were among several carriers that declared last week that they did not want their planes used to fly children who were separated from their parents.

The airlines fly passengers for the federal government under contracts that do not typically disclose the purpose of those flights.

American, the world’s largest airline, said Wednesday it didn’t know if the government has used its flights to transport migrant children, “but we would be extremely disappointed to learn that is the case.”

“We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it,” the carrier said.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order to end his administration’s 6-week-old practice of separating children from parents at the border. But among the questions still to be answered is what will happen to more that 2,300 children still in custody who were taken from their parents.

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