Last month an assistant principal at a Rhode Island high school sent an email to other staff soliciting donations to help an illegal immigrant student pay his “coyote” fee.
As The Free Press reported, the educator, Stefani Harvey, asked for $5,000 so that the student could pay the coyote, which she described as “a group that helps people.”
Yet if Sen. Marco Rubio gets his way, Harvey could be charged with a federal crime for aiding and promoting illegal immigration.
Last week, the Florida Republican introduced the ‘No Coyote Cash Act.’
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Rubio’s bill says, ‘‘Any person who transmits money, property, or any item of value through interstate commerce with the intent to finance a violation of [federal immigration laws] shall be fined the value of the transmitted money, property, or item of value, imprisoned not more than one year, or both.’’
The bill adds that “any alien,” apparently without specifying whether they are here legally or not, who does likewise could be deported.
“President [Joe] Biden’s failed open border policy continues to incentivize the crisis at our border,” Rubio said in a statement.
“This commonsense bill targets one of the root causes of illegal migration. We must ensure those who pay cartels, smugglers, and coyotes are convicted for enriching criminals’ pockets through human smuggling.”
Rubio’s office noted in a press release, “Illegal crossings into the United States continue to overwhelm American communities, while coyotes and cartels continue to profit from human smuggling.”
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Yet existing federal law contains “only vague criminal offenses” that tackle “the encouragement, inducement, or aiding and assisting of unlawful entry into the U.S.”
The bill is co-sponsored by GOP Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Ted Cruz of Texas, Katie Britt of Alabama, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
In his statement, Braun noted, “The coyotes and cartels will continue to profit from human smuggling as long as our border policies are weak. We must put a stop to this illegal and immoral billion-dollar operation.”
The bill also drew applause from activist groups who promote together immigration laws and enforcement.
“For too long, the U.S. has looked the other way as individuals paid cartel smugglers to bring their friends and family to the U.S. illegally, which has only led to an increase in chaos at the border and victimization of vulnerable populations,” said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA.
“We are thankful that Senator Rubio wants to put a stop to it.”
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