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Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Sen. Rubio introduces No Coyote Cash bill to criminalize financing of unlawful border crossings

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Although crossing into the United States unlawfully is a crime, some argue financially assisting that crime is only vaguely addressed as a crime itself – so this week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and several colleagues set out to change that through the No Coyote Cash Act.

“President 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.”

The bill would, on the surface, amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to introduce a criminal penalty and offer a foundation for removing financing for unlawful entries into the country. Foreign aliens found to have violated the act’s stipulations would be as deportable and inadmissible for re-entrance as any caught illegally crossing the border themselves. Additionally, those using money, property, or items of value to achieve this would be fined their value and could be imprisoned for up to a year.

According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), unique encounters with illegal border crossers reached 225,797 in December 2022, a 10 percent increase over the previous month. These people were subsequently processed and removed under either Title 42 or Title 8. For the year, though, figures were significantly higher, at 2,214,652 encounters. It marked a sizeable increase over previous years, as 2021 saw 1,662,167, and in 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdowns, only 405,036.

The No Coyote Cash bill was cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Katie Britt (R-AL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).