New York City sued 17 Texas busing companies on Thursday for $700 million, arguing the money would cover the city’s costs for caring for roughly 33,600 foreign nationals bused there after illegally crossing the border in Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded by saying the lawsuit is baseless and unconstitutional.
The Commissioner of New York City Department of Social Services filed suit with the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York County. It names 17 busing companies based in Texas as defendants. The companies contract with the Texas Department of Emergency Management to transport illegal foreign nationals to one of six “sanctuary cities” of their choice, of which New York City is one. The state of Texas and no state agency is named as a defendant.
The lawsuit argues the companies busing people to New York City “is not part of a human-centered initiative to help individuals vindicate a constitutional right to travel within the United States” but a way to “shift the traditional cost of migration at the Southern Border” to New York City and other urban areas so they “wak[e] up to the reality that open border policies are failed policies.”
It also says the companies have earned millions of dollars and by doing so have violated a state public charge rule, Section 149 of the New York Social Services Law. The law states, “[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.”
Abbott said the lawsuit “is baseless and deserves to be sanctioned. It’s clear that Mayor [Eric] Adams knows nothing about the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, or about the constitutional right to travel that has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court. 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. 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.“
Critics note the city did not sue the Biden administration, which has flown thousands of people to New York from the border, including thousands of unaccompanied minor children. Also, Arizona, led by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, has transported more than 25,000 illegal foreign nationals to New York City. And Democratic city officials in El Paso, including its mayor, began busing people from the border to New York City before Abbott did. None have been sued by NYC.
El Paso city officials have reported that New York City and Chicago are primary destinations of foreign nationals arriving in the city after they’ve illegally entered through Mexico. The city recently added Denver and Philadelphia to its transportation destinations. It also states on its website that no one is transported without their permission. The city helps “migrants with travel arrangements to destination cities of their choice,” it says.
The same is true of Texas’ busing strategy: everyone who boards a bus or plane leaving Texas for one of six self-described sanctuary cities willingly chooses to go there, according to Texas policy. The adults sign voluntary consent waivers for themselves and the minors under their care, which are available in multiple languages, prior to boarding. The waivers state they agreed on the destination, Abbott’s press secretary, Andrew Mahaleris, told The Center Square.
In response to Chicago’s mayor implementing a policy to block Texas buses from arriving in the city, Texas expanded its operation to flights to Chicago. Mahaleris said the flights are similar to what “the Biden Administration has been doing across the country. The difference is that Texas is being transparent. President Biden has been flying planeloads of migrants all around the country and oftentimes in the cover of night.”
Since 2021, Texas taxpayers are paying $11.5 billion for border security and other related costs, as allocated by the Texas legislature.
“Texas should not have to pay billions of dollars to secure the border” Abbott has said, but it is and will continue to until the president secures the border, he’s added.
Over $5 billion has already been spent on several measures, including on the state’s busing program, continuing construction of Texas’ border wall and on law enforcement interdiction through Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star.
More than 1.9 million illegal border crossers entered Texas in fiscal 2023, The Center Square first reported, while Texas has bused about 33,600 people to New York City.
By By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor | January 4 2024 Original here.