People are donating their frequent flyer miles to help reunite separated immigrant families.
Donations have spiked this week after a University of Michigan professor’s tweet went viral.
According to Miles4Migrants, one of the organizations that helps facilitate the award flights, they’ve received more donated miles during the last week than they have over the past 23 months.
As the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal government work to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, road warriors and business travelers are donating their frequent flyer miles to help cover the cost of reuniting children with their families.
Although more than 1,400 separated families have been reunited as of a court-imposed July 26 deadline, at least 711 children were unable to be reunited with their families, including at least 431 who have not yet been reunited because their parents may have already been deported, according to the federal government.
As nonprofit organizations attempt to help with the reunification process, families have had to pay as much as $2,000 or more in airfare in order to be reunited, which includes the cost of a round-trip ticket for a family escort, and a pricey one-way for each child.
Several organizations — including Miles4Migrants and Michigan Support Circle — have been accepting donations of frequent flyer miles to help book those flights for families and children.
“Flights can be incredibly expensive, especially last minute,” Seth Stanton, one of the directors of Miles4Migrants, told Business Insider. “Using miles helps us book these tickets to make reunifications possible.”
Although both organizations have been soliciting donations of frequent flyer miles since the current crisis began, they’ve seen an explosion of donations over the past several days, thanks to a viral tweet by University of Michigan Law School professor Beth H. Wilensky. Wilensky learned about the option to donate miles from a post in Michigan Support Circle’s Facebook group.
My husband travels a lot. Downside: he’s gone a lot. Upside: frequent flyer miles. We just used some to fly a 3-yr-old and his dad, who had been separated at the border, from Michigan (where the son had been taken) to their extended family. DM me if you have miles to donate.
— Beth Wilensky (@bethwilensky) August 6, 2018
“At last count, we have commitments from about 175 volunteers,” Rosaline Lochner, Michigan Support Circle’s founder, said in a phone interview with Business Insider Tuesday afternoon. “Before Beth’s tweet started to spread, we had around 8-10.”
Wilensky’s husband, Jeff Wilensky, is the Vice President of global marketing for ProQuest, a multinational education technology company, and has amassed more than 600,000 Delta frequent flyer miles over the course of his work travel. He donated 75,000 of them through Michigan Support Circle, which helped reunite a three-year-old boy and his father, and fly them from Michigan — where the boy had been taken after being separated from his father at the border — …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Life