Updated Jan 4, 2024 - Politics & Policy

NYC mayor sues Texas charter bus companies transporting migrants

Eric Adams speaks at a news conference at City Hall in Nov. 2023. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday that the city had filed a lawsuit against 17 charter bus companies used by the state of Texas to transport migrants to the city.

Why it matters: The lawsuit — yet another move by Adams to clamp down on migrant busing — accused the bus companies of violating New York state law by transporting migrants to the city without paying for their continued care.

  • "Today's lawsuit should serve as a warning to all those who break the law in this way," Adams said in a press release.

State of play: Since spring 2022, Texas has sent about 33,000 migrants to New York City as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to send migrants from the border to major cities across the country, the lawsuit stated.

  • The city's lawsuit alleged that the effort violated New York's Social Services Law, which requires anyone who transports a "needy person" to New York to cover the expenses for their care, per the press release.
  • The lawsuit seeks to recoup the at least $708 million the city has already spent to shelter, feed and provide other services to the 33,000 migrants, as well as future costs for migrants who continue to be sent to New York, the press release stated.

The big picture: Adams said last month that New York City — which has received the most migrants from Texas' busing program — expects the surge of migrants from Texas to intensify in the coming days and weeks.

  • City officials have repeatedly warned that the migrant crisis was straining resources in the city and called for federal support to shoulder the costs of caring for migrants.
  • In August, Adams said the city anticipated spending $4.7 billion in 2023 to support asylum seekers if it didn't receive "proper support."

What they're saying: "New York City has and will always do our part to manage this humanitarian crisis, but we cannot bear the costs of reckless political ploys from the state of Texas alone," Adams said in the press release.

  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also voiced her support for the lawsuit in the press release.
  • If the 17 bus companies are "getting paid to break the law by transporting people in need of public assistance into our state, they should be on the hook for the cost of sheltering those individuals," she said.

The other side: Abbott dismissed the lawsuit as "baseless" in a statement Thursday.

  • "Every migrant bused or flown to New York City did so voluntarily, after having been authorized by the Biden Administration to remain in the United States," Abbott added.
  • Abbott added that Adams was interfering with the migrants' right to travel freely across the country and said Adams would be "held legally accountable" if he continued to pursue the lawsuit.

Go deeper: U.S. cities attempt to clamp down on migrant busings with ordinances

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

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