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Lawsuits & Litigation

New York City Sues Bus Companies Involved in Migrant Busing Program

— January 7, 2024

The lawsuit alleges that charter bus companies based in four different states have violated New York City ordinances by bringing in thousands of persons “likely to be a public a charge.”

New York City has filed a lawsuit against more than a dozen different charter bus companies, which Mayor Eric Adams claimed violated state law by transporting thousands of migrants from Texas to the Empire State.

According to CNN, the lawsuit was filed in a New York supreme court earlier this week. It names 17 charter bus companies as defendants, including businesses headquartered in Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Indiana. The complaint seeks an estimated $708 million in recompense for the care of the 33,600 asylum-seekers who have arrived in the city since 2022.

The lawsuit is the city’s latest effort to curb a surge in migrant arrivals, who have placed an immense burden upon New York’s social welfare system.

“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 a statement announcing the complaint. “Today, we are taking legal action against 17 companies that have taken part in Texas Governor [Greg] Abbott’s scheme to transport tens of thousands of migrants to New York City in an attempt to overwhelm our social services system.”

CNN notes that Mayor Adams recently signed an executive order that would require all charter bus companies carrying asylum-seekers to comply with guidelines regulating when, where, and how migrants be dropped off. It requires advance written notice, threatening offenders with the impound of vehicles as well as fines and jail time.

However, attorneys for the mayor’s office have said that “not one bus from Texas” has complied with the regulations.”

In total, Texas has transported more than 90,000 migrants to so-called “sanctuary cites” run by elected Democrats—including New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.—since April of 2022.

Now, Adams alleges that the defendant bus companies knew, or should have known, that “they were transporting individuals who were likely to, and in fact did, seek shelter and emergency services from the City of New York.”

Former Texas Attorney General and current Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Image via Flickr/user:Gage Skidmore. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has since dismissed the lawsuit as “baseless,” saying that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of even undocumented migrants to travel to certain cities and states.

“This lawsuit is baseless and deserves to be sanctioned,” Abbott said in a statement released Thursday. “It’s clear that Mayor Adams knows nothing about the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, or about the constitutional right to travel that has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“Every migrant bused or flown to New York City did so voluntarily, after having bene authorized by the Biden Administration to remain in the United States,” Abbott said. “As such, they have constitutional authority to travel across the country that Mayor Adams is interfering with. If the mayor persists in this lawsuit, he may be held legally accountable for his violations.”

However, Adams’ lawsuit cites specific elements of New York’s legal code—including Section 149 of its Social Services Law, which states that any party “who knowingly brings, or causes to be brought, a needy person from out of the state into this state for the purpose of making him a public charge” must either “convey such person out of the state or to support him at his own expense.”

The charter bus companies, then, have “violated state law by not paying the cost of caring for these migrants, and that’s why we are suing to recoup approximately $700 million already spent to car for migrants sent here in the last two years by Texas.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has since voiced her support of her state’s largest city, saying that Texas has sought to use human lives as political pawns.

“Governor Abbott continues to use human beings as political pawns, and it’s about time that the companies facilitating his actions take responsibility for their role in this ongoing crisis,” Hochul said. “If they 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—not just passing that expense along to hard-working New Yorkers. I’m proud to support the mayor’s lawsuit.”


New York City announces lawsuit against bus companies sending migrants to city, seeks $708 million

New York City Sues Bus Companies That Brought 30,000 Migrants From Texas

NYC sues 17 charter bus companies for $700 million over transporting asylum seekers to the city from Texas

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