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

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(NEW YORK) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a lawsuit against 17 bus and transportation companies helping to send asylum-seekers to the city as it deals with major budget issues surrounding the crisis.

The city is seeking $708 million in the lawsuit to cover costs for caring for migrants.

“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 [Greg] Abbott’s scheme to transport tens of thousands of migrants to New York City in an attempt to overwhelm our social services system.

He 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 sent here in the last two years by Texas.”

The lawsuit has yet to be reviewed by the county clerk.

New York City has struggled to keep up with the financial burden of tens of thousands of migrants coming into the city since Abbott began Operation Lone Star. Abbott said on Dec. 29 the state had sent “over 33,600” migrants to New York City since August 2022.

The transportation companies named in the lawsuit include: 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.

“As of November 27, 2023, the Defendants have earned millions of dollars in revenues from Texas for implementing the Texas Governor’s plan,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit cites section 149 of the New York Social Services law, which 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.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stood in support of the lawsuit as well.

“Governor Abott 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 in a statement. “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.”

Adams and Hochul have each repeatedly pressed for support from the federal government to deal with the costs of migrants arriving in the city.

Adam also announced a new executive order in late December that would “improved coordination from charter bus companies transporting new migrant arrivals into New York City, ensuring the safety and well-being of both migrants and city staff receiving them.”

“New York City has begun to see another surge of migrants arriving, and we expect this to intensify over the coming days as a result of Texas Governor Abbott’s cruel and inhumane politics,” Adams said in a statement.

Just days later, buses began dropping migrants off in New Jersey and telling them to take public transit into the city in order to avoid running afoul of the executive order.

In an August 2022 interview with “Nightline,” just after the launch of Operation Lone Star, Abbott accused Adams of “playing politics” and called him a “hypocrite.”

“He’s also being a hypocrite because New York City is a self-declared ‘sanctuary city,"” Abbott said. “And so why he’s ever complaining for one moment about these people being bused into a city goes against his own self-declaration of being a sanctuary city.”

The term “sanctuary city” refers to municipalities like New York City that are willing to defy federal immigration laws in order to protect undocumented immigrants.

There were a record 302,000 migrant encounters at the southern border in December, according to Customs and Border Protection.

ABC News’ Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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