Eric Adams

Adams threatens ‘all viable’ legal actions against Abbott over migrants

New York City’s mayor accuses the Texas governor of bypassing an executive order to limit the arrival of buses carrying asylum-seekers.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and senior administration officials hold an in-person media availability at City Hall on Tuesday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and senior administration officials hold an in-person media availability at City Hall on Tuesday. Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

New York City Mayor Eric Adams strongly condemned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday for recklessly using migrants as pawns “to create chaos,” warning that his administration is considering all viable legal options to respond to what appears to be an attempt to bypass the city’s new executive order seeking to limit the arrival of buses. 

“We are dealing with a person who just wants to disrupt. This is not about raising the attention on an issue. This is a mean-spirited way of using people and disrupting municipalities,” Adams told reporters at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “We want to pivot the ship and be prepared to send the right message to the bus operators – you should not participate in the actions of Gov. Abbott.” 

For months, the Texas governor has sent tens of thousands of asylum-seekers to New York City and a handful of other Democrat-run cities, including Denver and Chicago – often providing little to no advance notice about bus timing, location, and even the various needs of new arrivals. Hoping to manage the ongoing, unpredictable surge of arrivals, Adams announced an executive order last week requiring charter bus companies to provide 32 hours’ advance notice of their arrival and to only drop migrants off during limited times of the day. But since Saturday, more than a dozen buses carrying migrants – mostly sent from Texas – have arrived at train stops in several parts of New Jersey. Most of the new arrivals continued on to New York City, according to authorities. 

Adams charged that Abbott and the bus operators are deliberately circumventing the executive order, but added that its implementation hasn’t backfired despite the additional burden the new drop off points place on migrants trying to make their way to New York. He said that his administration anticipated the buses would pivot in this way – that’s what happened in Chicago when its mayor implemented a similar executive order and buses began dropping migrants off at the airport and in neighboring suburbs. According to Adams, his administration spoke with surrounding municipalities in New Jersey and New York about this possibility before implementing the executive order and had more conversations since.

“There’s a process to get to an end result. The first order of business was to demand coordination,” Adams said of the reasoning. “Now we hope to get our other municipalities to put in place the same order.”

While Adams declined to go into specifics about how the city will respond, he said that everything legal is on the table and that his administration is going over every authority the city has.

“Our goal is not to hold any of this chaotic tactic against the migrants who are arriving. We are going to continue to be decent and humanitarian,” said Lisa Zornberg, Adams’ chief counsel. “But to manage this crisis, we have to do everything we possibly can. And the bus companies themselves really need to take notice that they are exposing themselves if they purposely seek to evade this executive order and harm New York City by participating in what really is a bad faith policy at this point.”