EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is set to introduce a bill making it explicitly illegal for ‘coyotes’ to smuggle immigrants and goods across the U.S. border.
The ‘No Coyote Cash Act,’ cosigned by four other Senate Republicans, would fine coyotes the worth of their transportation at the border and sentence them to up to one year in prison. Illegal immigrants who transport people or goods are also subject to deportation.
‘Any person who transmits money, property, or any item of value through interstate commerce … shall be fined the value of the transmitted money, property, or item of value, imprisoned not more than year, or both,’ the bill states.
Coyotes charge upward of $10,000 to smuggle immigrants across the southern border depending on where their country of origin and method of transportation is. The charges have made for a booming business for coyotes as border encounters have hit all-time highs during the Biden administration. The total number of encounters is nearing 5 million, according to U.S. Custom and Border Protection data.
‘President Biden’s failed open border policy continues to incentivize the crisis at our border,’ Rubio told Fox News Digital. ‘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 legal provisions in Rubio’s bill would be amended to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The bill is cosigned by senators Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Mike Braun, R-Ind.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations for NumbersUSA, a group that advocates for lower levels of immigration, said Rubio’s bill would close a long-abused loophole in the U.S. immigration system.
‘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,’ Jenks told Fox News Digital.