More than 33,000 migrants have arrived in New York City from Texas since August 2022, prompting the city to take legal action against 17 bus and transportation companies that have contracted with Texas to transport these migrants. The city, in a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, is seeking $708 million in damages, which represents the amount the city has spent to shelter these migrants. This move by New York City is a direct response to Governor Greg Abbott’s immigration policies.
Mayor Eric Adams expressed the city’s position, stating, “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.” He further criticized Governor Abbott’s handling of the situation, calling it chaotic and inhumane, and accused him of prioritizing politics over people. The mayor sees this lawsuit as a warning to those who break the law in this manner.
The city’s lawsuit argues that the bus and transportation companies are violating a state law by purposely shifting the costs of caring for the migrants to New York. It states that the companies receive more money for their services than the cost of a one-way ticket from Texas to New York City on a regularly-scheduled bus. The lawsuit cites figures indicating that the companies receive approximately $1,650 per person on chartered buses, compared to just $291 for a single one-way ticket.
Since April 2022, Governor Abbott has directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to transport migrants to Democratic-led cities that he deems sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants. According to the governor’s office, as of December 29, Texas has bused over 82,000 people from Texas border cities to various destinations, including Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, and Los Angeles. Specifically, since August 2022, Texas has bused 33,600 migrants to New York. In December, the governor even authorized the use of a plane to transport 120 migrants to Chicago, marking the first time Texas has employed air transportation for this purpose.
It is important to note that the migrants sent to other cities undergo apprehension and background checks by immigration officials at the Texas-Mexico border before they are released. The bus trips are voluntary and require the migrants to sign a consent waiver, according to the governor’s office.
Governor Abbott dismissed the lawsuit as baseless and criticized Mayor Adams, stating that he lacks knowledge about the U.S. Constitution. The governor emphasized that every migrant bused or flown to New York City did so voluntarily with authorization from the Biden Administration. He argued that Mayor Adams is interfering with their constitutional right to travel across the country. Governor Abbott warned that if the mayor persists with the lawsuit, he may face legal consequences for his violations.
The lawsuit names several bus and transportation companies as defendants, including Buckeye Coach, Carduan Tours, Classic Elegance Coaches, Coastal Crew Change Company, Ejecutivo Enterprises, El Paso United Charters, Garcia and Garcia Enterprises, JY Charter Bus, Lily’s Bus Lines, Mayo Tours, Norteno Express, Roadrunner Charters, Southwest Crew Change Company, Transportes Regiomontanos, VLP Charter, Windstar Lines, and Wynne Transportation. When contacted, representatives from Classic Elegance Coaches and Lily’s Bus Lines declined to comment.
In conclusion, New York City’s legal action against bus and transportation companies involved in transporting migrants from Texas reflects the city’s determination to address the financial burden caused by Governor Abbott’s immigration policies. The city seeks substantial damages to cover the costs incurred in sheltering these migrants. This lawsuit highlights the ongoing debate surrounding immigration policies and the responsibilities of both state and local governments in managing the humanitarian crisis at the border.