New York City Misfires With Lawsuit Against Bus Companies
Seeking $708 million in damages, the city is suing 17 bus companies for bringing “over 33,600 migrants” from Texas to Gotham. The lawsuit cites Section 149 of the New York Social Services Law, which requires “any 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.”
But New York – whose comptroller declared just this month that migrants are a net benefit to the city – misses the legal mark with its lawsuit.
The bused aliens have all been allowed to enter the country by the U.S. government and have effectively been granted de facto parole without travel restrictions. As such, they have a constitutional right to freedom of movement, unless Paroler-in-Chief Joe Biden suddenly decides to place some sort of restriction on them.
“The bus companies aren’t engaged in alien smuggling or harboring, they’re simply selling tickets to carry passengers – which isn’t a violation of any laws,” says Matt O’Brien, director of investigations for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, FAIR’s affiliated legal organization.
IRLI and Texas argue that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, it would be a violation of the aliens’ right to freedom of movement, and an impermissible interference with interstate commerce if the bus companies were to deny transport to migrants on the basis of their alienage.
The New York Post picked up on the city’s flawed line of attack. It editorialized: “If Mayor [Eric] Adams is going to start filing Hail Mary lawsuits over the city’s migrant crisis, why stop at a few bus companies? Go big, sir: Sue the feds!” Hizzoner might also want to consider repealing his city’s sanctuary policies and revising the four-decade-old legal settlement that guarantees a right to shelter to anyone who turns up in the five boroughs.
Indeed, Adams’ courtroom flyer should lead Adams to the same argument Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been using: that the Biden administration has abandoned its responsibility to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act and maintain the integrity of our borders.
That’s where the rubber meets the road.