New York City sues Texas bus companies for bringing migrants to city

The suit claims 17 bus companies owe the city more than $700 million for costs incurred by the thousands of migrants bused in since April 2022.
Migrants arrive at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
Posted at 11:51 AM, Jan 05, 2024

New York City is suing over a dozen charter bus companies for transporting tens of thousands of migrants to the area by order of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Democratic Mayor Eric Adams filed the lawsuit in state court Thursday, claiming 17 bus companies owe his city more than $700 million in damages for the cost it incurred from the estimated 33,000 migrants that were bused in over the past 10 months. Adams claims the political move is in violation of state law that prohibits transporting and abandoning "needy persons" across state lines.

"New York City has and will continue to do our part in the asylum seeker crisis," Adams said Thursday on social media. "But we can't bear the costs alone — and we won't let those complicit in [Gov. Abbott's] scheme get away with violating our state laws ... We'll see you in court."

Hundreds of migrants bound for New York dropped off in New Jersey
Buses carrying migrants.

Hundreds of migrants bound for New York dropped off in New Jersey

A New Jersey mayor says the migrants then took trains to New York City, creating a “loophole” in NYC Mayor Adams' migrant restrictions.


In response, Abbott said the lawsuit was in violation of the Constitution's commerce clause, which guarantees the right to travel among states. 

"Every migrant bused or flown to New York City did so voluntarily, after having been authorized by the Biden Administration to remain in the United States," Abbott said in a statement. "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." 

New York City is among several so-called "sanctuary cities" that Republican politicians like Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have targeted with migrant shipments in recent months in attempt to bring awareness to the southern border crisis. The mass influx has pushed city resources to the brink and left leaders pleading with the federal government for help in addressing the issue.

US border crossings by migrant families hit record high
Migrants climb over concertina wire after they crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico.

US border crossings by migrant families hit record high

The southwest border saw 2.2 million migrant encounters this fiscal year, closing in on last year's 2.4 million.


A group of other Democratic mayors from Chicago, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles met with White House officials in November to discuss the ongoing crisis. Adams was also slated to attend the meeting but was forced to back out at the last moment to "deal with a matter," a spokesperson said. 

The Biden administration has already delivered more than $1 billion in federal aid to help local communities handle the migrant crisis, but the group of mayors have requested an additional $5 billion in aid to provide migrants with shelter and services. Meanwhile, U.S. authorities say the situation at the southern border is at a "breaking point," as a caravan of thousands of additional migrants are heading there from southern Mexico.