Delta CEO, Backing Obama, Declares 'We Are a Nation of Immigrants'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Delta (DAL) CEO Richard Anderson said the carrier spoke out on President Obama's move to reshape immigration policy because "our company needs to reflect the differences and values of the people we carry around the world.

 "We're an airline," Anderson said. "Next year we hope to carry 175 million people."

Anderson spoke on "CBS This Morning," where he was asked why Delta came out Friday in support of the president's controversial action on immigration.

His first response: "If you've seen some of the emails I've gotten, you would wonder why (we did it)."

Anderson went on to explain that "we are a nation of immigrants ... we are a country that was built by immigrants."

In fact, Anderson said, his grandparents were immigrants. He did not specify where they immigrated from.

On Friday, Delta issued a brief press release that began, "Delta Air Lines issued the following statement on the announcement by the Obama Administration of reforms to the nation's immigration system."

It continued: "Delta Air Lines applauds the steps announced this week to enact much-needed reforms to the nation's immigration system," said Joanne Smith, Delta's executive vice president and chief human resources officer.

"The President's actions will provide economic development opportunities and enhance public safety by streamlining legal immigration while cracking down on illegal immigration at the border and focusing on deporting felons rather than families," Smith said.

As far as the bad weather expected to impact the Northeast on Wednesday, the third heaviest travel day of the holiday period, Anderson said, "Our goal is to get everybody to grandma's in time for the turkey."

Airlines for America has said that 2.27 million passengers are expected to fly on Wednesday.

It is possible that some will delay travel until Thanksgiving Day, the lightest day of the holiday travel period with just 1.36 million passengers.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

To contact this writer, click here.

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At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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