Multiple major airlines have put out statements refusing to transport immigrant children — who were separated from their families at the border following Trump’s “zero tolerance policy” on immigration which he amended by signing an executive order on Wednesday — across the country, a move that could become an issue for the government when it comes to getting thousands of kids to detention facilities in different states. 

According to Trump's recent executive order, “alien families” will be detained together “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources" and as a result, children will not be separated from their parents anymore. The "zero tolerance" policy toward illegal immigration, however, will continue, as the administration made it clear, and everyone who enters the U.S. unlawfully will be prosecuted. 

But it is still not clear whether the separation of families at the border will end immediately.  

American Airlines was the first to refrain from having any role in separating families, stating: “We have therefore requested the federal government to immediately refrain from using American for the purpose of transporting children who have been separated from their families due to the current immigration policy. We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it. We have every expectation the government will comply with our request and we thank them for doing so."

United Airlines also released a similar statement condemning Trump’s policy and refusing to play any part in it:

Fly Frontier also tweeted out a statement, echoing American Air and United’s stance on transporting immigrant children:

Alaska Airlines was the latest to chime in, tweeting the following statement:

The Southwest Airlines also put out a statement saying the company did "not wish to have involvement in the process of separating children from their parents. Therefore, we appeal to anyone making those types of travel decisions not to utilize Southwest Airlines.”

The same went for Spirit Airlines, which tweeted:

Department of Home Security (DHS) spokesman Tyler Houlton confirmed on Wednesday that multiple airlines had reached out to the federal agency, asking them to not use their services to transport immigrant children.

Although DHS has not yet announced an alternative method of transporting immigrant children, it can become an issue in the wake of the array of airlines refusing their services. Here is a look at the methods available to the agency at the moment to transport the children.

Other airlines

While a number of major airline companies have put out statements making their stance on the immigration policy more than clear, some of them are yet to pick a side. Hence, DHS still has the option of picking these air carriers for fulfilling their agenda.

Delta Air Lines, for example, dubbed the administration’s policy of separating families as "disheartening," but did not elaborate further on whether it would refuse to participate in the policy. 

“Recent reports of families being separated are disheartening and do not align with Delta’s core values," the statement said, USA Today reported. "We applaud the administration’s executive order resolving the issue of separating children from their families at the U.S. border.”

Other airlines like JetBlue and Allegiant also have not put out statements confirming their stand on the immigration policy.

Transporting unannounced

While several airlines companies have reached out to the DHS, requesting them not to use their services to transport immigrant children, as American Airlines’ statement made it clear, “many U.S. airlines provides travel to the federal government through contracts; however, the government does not disclose information about the nature of the flights it takes or the passengers who are traveling.”

This means federal agents could still transport immigrant children on flights belonging to companies which do not wish to do so, without the knowledge of the airlines.

In fact, just hours after the company put out their statement denouncing Trump’s immigration policy, Michael Avenatti, adult film star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, tweeted out a picture showing a group of young immigrants waiting to board an American Airlines flight at the McAllen Miller International airport, Texas.

After Avenatti’s allegations, American Airlines put out the following statement:

“Travel Youth Care Worker”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has hired a private intelligence contractor, MVM Inc., for $162 million dollars to fly immigrant children to shelters across the nation.

Among the contractor’s recent job postings were listed advertisements for a “Bilingual Travel Youth Care Worker,” where MVM sought escorts for “unaccompanied children and teens.” The individuals will be responsible for “accompanying them on domestic flights and via ground transportation to shelters all over the country” including states like Phoenix, Arizona, San Antonio, and Texas, the Daily Beast reported. 

This means that the supervisors flying the children to different refugee shelters will not necessarily carry ICE badges, which can instantly be recognized at airports.

Military vehicles

Although DHS has not revealed any plans to send military vehicles to transport the immigrant children separated from their families at the border, the Pentagon has already sent military lawyers to Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to help prosecute illegal immigration cases, NBC News reported. 

Hence, left with no other alternative, DHS might just consider exploring this option.