How You Can Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles to Help Reunite Separated Families
For migrant families separated at the U.S. border, finding their way back to each other can be a difficult process. Legal issues are just the beginning: Once those have been dealt with, the cost and logistics of travel can still keep people from reuniting with their loved ones. If you're looking for ways to help, donating your frequent flyer miles is a great place to start.
As BuzzFeed News reports, the nonprofit organization Miles4Migrants has received 5.8 million airline miles from donors. The miles the charity receives are used to transport refugees and asylum seekers that have already been cleared by the government for relocation, either for migration or family reunification. In such cases, the only factor keeping them grounded is a lack of funds. Miles4Migrants promises that 100 percent of the miles and dollars it raises go directly toward shuttling refugees to their destinations.
The cause recently came into the spotlight following a tweet from University of Michigan Law School professor Beth Wilensky. She wrote: "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."
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
Wilensky and her husband donated their extra miles directly to the local group the Michigan Support Circle, but she also suggested Miles4Migrants to anyone looking to make a similar donation. The organization has since received a flood of attention: Miles4Migrants estimates that the contributions they've received in the week since the tweet was sent will be able to transport 390 people. The total number of people they've purchased flights for since they were founded in 2016 is 151.
Even if you don't have enough frequent flyer miles to give away (the minimum donation is 12,500 miles), there are plenty of organizations helping separated families that could still use your support. The American Immigration Council, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services all accept donations.
[h/t BuzzFeed News]