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United Airlines offering free flights to reunite immigrant families separated at US border

United Airlines is reportedly offering free flights for immigrants who were separated while illegally attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. (Boarding1Now/Getty Images)

United Airlines is providing free flights to reunite families who were separated while illegally attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The airline is partnering with FWD.us, an advocacy group for illegal immigrants’ rights. In a Facebook post, FWD.us thanked United for joining the “Flights for Families” campaign.

The post read:

“A growing community of support is coming together to reunite families who were separated at the border. We are so thankful and happy to announce that United Airlines is jumping in and helping. Thanks to this partnership with United, we are able to provide travel to the recently reunited immigrant families to get to their next destination with dignity. FWD.us, RAICES, and We Belong Together would like to thank United for their generosity in the face of this crisis and for being an amazing partner in the #FlightsforFamilies effort. This is so needed, timely, and critical. Thank you to our friends at United!”

What did United Airlines say?

United Airlines responded by writing:

“Our company’s shared purpose is to connect people and unite the world — we are proud to support your work and help reunify immigrant children and families. ^MM”

The airline has gotten involved in other political actions, as well, The Daily Caller noted.

In June, United Airlines told federal officials it would not transport children whose parents were detained under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policies.

United Airlines also stirred controversy when it cut its association with the National Rifle Association in February amid increasing pressure from the anti-gun lobby in the wake of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

What is the background?

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April a “zero-tolerance” policy on illegal immigration.

The policy said the goal was to “prosecute every case that is brought to us.” Under the policy, every immigrant who  crossed the border illegally were subject to criminal prosecution.

Children cannot be held in a federal jail, so they were taken from their parents and placed under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to published reports.

While the practice was in place, about 2,000 children were separated from their parents during a crackdown that spanned six weeks.

Between April 19 and May 31, 1,995 minors were separated from adults they were with while attempting to cross the border, reports state.

On June 20, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to stop the practice.

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