On Thursday, January 4th, Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City initiated legal action against 17 bus companies for their alleged role in transporting over 30,000 migrants from Texas as part of a plan attributed to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
The city is seeking damages exceeding $700 million.
The lawsuit intends to cover the cost of shelter, food, and healthcare for migrants transported from Texas, the anticipated costs for migrants currently residing in the city, and those who may be transported in the future, as reported by the mayor’s office.
New York City has received over 33,600 migrants transported from Texas.
Mayor Adams, in a video statement, said, “We cannot bear the course of reckless political ploys from the state of Texas alone. Today, our administration filed a lawsuit 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.”
Adams continued, “These companies 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 care for migrants bused here in the last two years by the state of Texas.”
“Governor Abbott’s continuing 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,” the mayor concluded.
In response to the migrant situation, Adams issued an executive order in December, restricting charter buses to drop off migrants only between 8:30 a.m. and noon on weekdays at a designated location.
The city announced that failure to comply with these regulations would result in fines.
Additionally, the order necessitated a 32-hour notice period before buses could enter the city.
Charter buses from Texas began dropping off migrants in cities located in New Jersey before they boarded trains to New York in reaction to the executive order.
The lawsuit, filed in the New York State Supreme Court, claims that this deliberate act of transferring migrants to shift the care costs to New York violates state law.
The city government says the law requires “[a]ny person who knowingly brings, or causes to be brought, a needy person from out of state into this state for the purpose of making him a public charge…shall be obligated to convey such person out of state or support him at his own expense.”
Among the defendants are Ohio-based Buckeye Coach LLC and Classic Elegance Coaches from El Paso, Texas.
The lawsuit alleges that the bus companies have acted in “bad faith” by capitalizing on transporting migrants to the city for profit.
Furthermore, the city contends that many of the companies facing legal action are the ones currently avoiding compliance with the executive order by transporting migrants to train stations in New Jersey.
The influx of over 160,000 migrants has been a significant focus of Mayor Adams’s administration, challenging New York City’s unique legal obligation to provide shelter to anyone in need.
Currently, around 70,000 migrants are under the city’s care. The estimated cost of this responsibility is projected to be $12 billion over the next three years.
Mayor Adams has expressed concern that this financial burden could potentially “destroy New York City.”
When asked for a comment on whether or not Mayor Adams plans to sue the nonprofit organizations funding the migrants’ travel to the city or the federal government to recoup funds spent on the crisis, a spokesperson for the mayor said “Like the mayor said on Tuesday, all options are on the table.”
Governor Kathy Hochul has expressed support for the lawsuit, highlighting the strain on the state’s budget due to the migrant situation.
“It’s about time that the companies facilitating his actions take responsibility for their role in this ongoing crisis,” Hochul stated.
The governor added, “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.”