New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday announced a lawsuit against more than a dozen charter bus and transportation companies involved in busing migrants to New York City, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for the care of migrants in the self-described “sanctuary” city.
“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 . “Today, we are taking legal action against 17 companies that have taken part in Texas Governor Abbott’s scheme to transport tens of thousands of migrants to New York City in an attempt to overwhelm our social services system.”
The lawsuit argues that the companies have violated New York state law by not paying for the cost of caring for migrants, and seeks $708 million in damages that it has already spent to care for them. It cites New York law that requires anyone who brings a “needy person” from out of state for the purposes of making them a public charge to either take them out of the state or support them.
“Governor Abbott’s continued use of migrants as political pawns is not only chaotic and inhumane but makes clear he puts politics over people. Today’s lawsuit should serve as a warning to all those who break the law in this way,” Adams said.
Adams, who has been locked in a war of words with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over Abbott’s transportation of migrants to “sanctuary cities” since last year, recently announced an executive order requiring charter buses transporting migrants to provide 32 hours’ notice in advance of their arrival in New York City.
The order also requires buses to arrive between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. between Monday and Friday and drop off at one particular spot.
But buses have appeared to be dodging that requirement by dropping off migrants at train stations in neighboring New Jersey, from where they can travel on a train directly into NYC. Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli on Sunday accused the migrant buses of bypassing New York City’s executive order through a “loophole.”
Adams was asked about the change in strategy on Thursday, and said that the city will continue to enforce the executive order and that he had spoken to the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut.
“And we’re going to continue to reach out to our colleagues in the region to say that everyone should put in place a similar EO to send a loud message that these bus operators and bus companies should not be participating in Governor Abbott’s…fiasco of really trying to destabilize these cities,” he said.
He went on to take another shot on Abbott over the buses.
“What he is doing is just being dogmatic about destabilizing these cities. And we must meet his challenge,” he said.
Adams also received support for the lawsuit from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul who said companies have responsibility “for their role in this ongoing crisis.”
“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,” she said.
Abbott, meanwhile, has brushed off the criticism he has seen from Adams and other Democratic mayors and said he is busing the migrants to help besieged Texas communities. The state says it has transported over 95,000 migrants to “sanctuary” cities which Abbott recently noted is “only a FRACTION of what overwhelmed Texas border towns face daily.” There were more than 2.4 million migrant encounters in FY 23, and officials have told lawmakers last month that they are releasing an average of 5,000 a day into the U.S.
“We will continue our transportation mission until Biden reverses course on his open border policies,” Abbott said.
An Abbott spokesperson this week accused mayors of “going to extreme lengths to avoid fulfilling their self-declared sanctuary city promises, yet they remain silent as President Biden transports migrants all around the country and oftentimes in the cover of night.”
“Instead of attacking Texas’ efforts to provide relief to our overwhelmed border communities, these Democrat mayors should call on their party leader to finally do his job and secure the border – something he continues refusing to do,” spokesperson Renae Eze said.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.