Mayor Eric Adams of New York on Thursday ratcheted up his feud with Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, filing suit against 17 transportation companies that he said had carried out a plan by Mr. Abbott to send more than 30,000 migrants to New York City and make it pay for their care.
The city is seeking more than $700 million in damages from those companies, an amount the lawsuit describes as the cost of caring for and sheltering the migrants.
The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, argues that purposely transporting the migrants with the “evil intention” of shifting the costs of their care to New York violates state law.
A spokesman for Mr. Abbott, a Republican, had no immediate comment.
The transportation companies named in the suit include Buckeye Coach LLC, based in Ohio, and Classic Elegance Coaches, based in El Paso, Texas. The owner of Buckeye had no immediate comment. A person answering the phone at Classic Elegance Coaches referred a reporter to the state of Texas.
In a minute-long video released in conjunction with the lawsuit, Mr. Adams, a Democrat, said New York City could not “bear the costs of reckless political ploys from the state of Texas alone.”
The arrival of more than 160,000 migrants in New York City has consumed much of Mr. Adams’s first two years in office. A decades-old consent decree, unique among major American cities, requires New York to provide shelter to anyone who asks.
Roughly 70,000 migrants remain in the city’s care. Mr. Adams has estimated that sheltering the migrants will cost the city $12 billion over three years.
He has warned that the influx of migrants would “destroy New York City,” and he has blamed the cost of caring for them for the severe budget cuts he has imposed.
In recent weeks, he has adopted a more aggressive legal strategy to address the issue. Last week, he announced the city’s first controls on how charter buses can transport the migrants, limiting the hours and locations at which they can drop them off.
That has resulted in buses making drop-offs at unpredictable times in New Jersey.
Mr. Adams’s administration cited those drop-offs in the suit as further evidence of the bus companies’ “bad faith.”
The suit has the support of New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul, whose budget has also been strained by the cost of sheltering migrants.
“Governor Abbott 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,” she said in a statement.