The city of New York on January 4 filed a $708 million lawsuit against over a dozen charter bus companies, accusing them of illegally busing thousands of migrants from the Texas/Mexico border under the direction of Governor Greg Abbott, the Associated Press reported.
In the lawsuit, the city accuses the 17 charter bus companies of participating in a “bad faith” plan that violates New York law that prevents the abandonment of “needy persons” and seeks $708 million in compensation to cover the cost of housing, food, and healthcare New York has provided the estimated 33,000 migrants transported to the city since the spring of 2022.
In announcing the suit, Mayor Eric Adams said that New York could no longer pay the price alone for Governor Abbott’s “reckless political ploys” and said the lawsuit would act “as a warning to all those who break the law this way.”
While representatives from the charter bus companies either declined to comment on the lawsuit or did not respond to the Associated Press’s inquiries, one employee with Buckeye Coach LLC told the outlet that the charter companies “don’t make policies,” they are just “a transportation company.”
The Adams administration said its recent focus on penalizing the charter bus companies was partly fueled by the legal protection known as “sovereign immunity” that prevents the city from targeting the state of Texas.
To argue that the arrangement was made in “bad faith,” the lawsuit cites a report that determined that the charter companies are paid approximately $1,650 per person to transport the migrants out of Texas, a cost that is far higher than the standard one-way bus ticket.
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, Governor Abbott said the complaint violated the commerce clause, which affirms the constitutional right to travel within the United States.
He said every migrant on those buses voluntarily traveled to New York City after the Biden administration authorized them to remain in the United States, and thus had the “constitutional authority to travel across the country.”
While appearing on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend, Governor Abbott suggested that Mayor Adams should sue Joe Biden rather than the charter bus companies since it is Biden’s policies that caused the massive influx of illegals.