There is an interesting controversy brewing in Rhode Island where a high school vice principal, Stefani Harvey, sent an email to school staff seeking money to pay a “coyote” for transporting a student who entered the country illegally. Harvey was trying to help the student pay off the coyote fee, but there is a little problem with this fundraiser: transporting aliens is a federal crime. Even worse, these “contracts” for human smuggling often become human trafficking enterprises where those who cannot pay are used in prostitution or the drug trade.
Notably, Mount Pleasant High School Assistant Principal Harvey used her official title and email for the solicitation.
However, this is not the same as the school’s marching band fundraiser. Harvey mater-of-factly explained that the coyote charged $5,000 and was demanding $2,000 by a deadline of February 1, 2023.
Harvey told the staff “Our student needs our urgent support to raise another $2,000 to meet his goal of $5,000 by February 1st, 2023.” It is not stated what will happen if the student misses the date but the suggestion is that it will be both bad and outside of the law. Many of these coyotes are human traffickers who use the immigrants for prostitution, drug operations or other services if they cannot pay their fee.
Mount Pleasant Principal Tiffany Delaney addressed the email on Friday, writing “I was informed there was an email seeking financial support for one of our students. I appreciated the faculty and staff contributing to a cause that supports a student, but the nature of the request is not appropriate.”
“Not appropriate” is fairly tame. It is not known the status of the student beyond the illegal entry. It is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) and 1324(a)(2) to knowingly bring or attempt to bring into the United States an alien into the country illegally. Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) makes it a crime for any person, with knowledge or reckless disregard of the alien’s illegal immigrations status, to transport an alien within the United States by any means of transportation.
It is also a crime to harbor an illegal immigrant or shield the alien from detection. Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii). It is also a crime under Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) to encourage or induce an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States as well as conspiring or aiding or abetting in any of these crime. Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(v).
This is a direct campaign to raise money for an unlawful payment to a human trafficker.
Assistant Principal Harvey is new to Mount Pleasant High School and posted under a Twitter account declaring “I water you, you water me, we grow together.”