In attempt to stem migrant surge, Adams restricts bus arrivals to New York


Mayor Eric Adams imposed limits for the first time Wednesday on how migrants arrive in New York, rejecting the Texas governor's continued efforts to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers to the city.

In an executive order, Adams required charter bus companies to give 32 hours' notice of a busload of immigrants arriving in the city and limited the hours of day immigrants could be dropped off.

The change, a year and a half into a crisis that has consumed the Adams administration, comes after 14 busloads of migrants arrived from Texas in a single night last week, the highest total recorded since spring 2022. .

“We cannot allow buses with people who need our help to arrive unannounced at any time of the day or night,” Adams said during a virtual news conference with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Denver Mayor , Mike Johnston. “To be clear, this is not about stopping people from coming, but about ensuring the safety of migrants and ensuring that they can arrive in a coordinated and orderly manner.”

Businesses that violate the executive order face class B misdemeanor charges, which could result in three months in jail and a $500 fine for individuals and a $2,000 fine for corporations. The Police Department can also impound buses that violate the order.

At the press conference, the three mayors again demanded that the federal government confront its dysfunctional immigration system. Johnston said Denver had received more than 35,000 immigrants and was sheltering 4,000, creating a crisis that is consuming nearly 10 percent of the city's budget. He called on the federal government to speed up work authorizations, provide more financial assistance and develop a coordinated entry plan so that asylum seekers are more evenly distributed across the country.

“We can't continue doing the job of the federal government,” Adams said.

The executive order was aimed directly at Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who recently acknowledged sending 25,000 immigrants to New York City. New York City has processed more than 160,000 immigrants since then, many of them from Venezuela. According to the mayor's office, some 70,000 people remain under the city's care.

The order cites particular concerns about the city's ability to care for migrants who arrive at night or on the weekend and may need immediate shelter and services.

“People get off the bus in shorts and flip-flops,” said Joshua Goldfein, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society. “The city does not receive any real-time information about when and where these buses will arrive.”

New York City, where homeless people are guaranteed the right to housing, has estimated that the influx will cost $12 billion over three years. Adams has responded with cuts to municipal services that his critics describe as draconian.

After the city of Chicago recently instituted similar regulations for bus companies, Texas responded by sending buses to the Chicago suburbs, according to Johnson.

Buses have been “literally dropping families off in the middle of nowhere,” wreaking “an incredible amount of chaos,” he said.

It's unclear whether Abbott will follow a similar playbook when sending buses to locations outside of New York City. A spokesperson for Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If that happened, Goldfein said, “that would only highlight the recklessness and complete disregard for the well-being of the people riding these buses.”

Johnston said Denver was also in the process of instituting restrictions on when and where asylum seekers could be dropped off so they would not arrive “in the middle of the night” with children placed in the “freezing cold.”

In the spring, Adams attempted to send immigrants north of the city, causing an uproar among county executives upstate. They quickly issued dozens of executive orders attempting to ban immigrants.

Daniel McCoy, Albany County Executive, said his county was already housing about 700 immigrants and was at capacity. He said he wasn't sure what he would do if a bus from Texas showed up on his county doorstep.

“We're going to have to deal with it,” he said.

Under the terms of the executive order, buses can only unload immigrants between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m., Monday through Friday. People must be dropped off at a specific location in the Times Square area or another location approved by city officials.

Bus operators must also have a manifest detailing how many of their passengers arrived in the United States in the last 90 days and are likely to seek emergency shelter. The manifest must also document how many migrants are single adults or traveling as part of a family.

“We are really saying to bus operators and bus companies, 'Do not participate in Governor Abbott's actions,'” Mr. Adams said. “We want them to take appropriate steps to be responsible.”

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