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In Bid to Slow Migrant Surge, Adams Restricts Bus Arrivals Into New York

Mayor Eric Adams placed limits for the first time on Wednesday on how migrants arrive in New York, pushing back against continuing efforts by the governor of Texas to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers to the city.

In an executive order, Mr. Adams required charter bus companies to provide 32 hours’ advance notice of the arrival of a busload of migrants in the city and limited the times of day at which migrants can 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 the spring of 2022.

“We cannot allow buses with people needing our help to arrive without warning at any hour of day and night,” Mr. Adams said during a virtual news conference with the mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, and the mayor of Denver, Mike Johnston. “To be clear, this is not stopping people from coming, but about ensuring the safety of migrants and making sure they can arrive in a coordinated and orderly way.”

Companies 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. Buses violating the order may also be seized by the Police Department.

At the news conference, the three mayors again demanded that the federal government grapple with its dysfunctional immigration system. Mr. Johnston said Denver had received more than 35,000 migrants and was housing 4,000, creating a crisis that is consuming almost 10 percent of the city’s budget. He called for the federal government to accelerate work authorizations, provide more financial assistance and develop a coordinated entry plan so that asylum seekers would be spread more evenly throughout the country.

“We cannot continue to do the federal government’s job,” Mr. Adams said.

The executive order was aimed squarely at Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who recently acknowledged having sent 25,000 migrants to New York City. New York City has processed more than 160,000 migrants since then, many of them from Venezuela. Some 70,000 remain in the city’s care, according to the mayor’s office.

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

“People are getting off the bus in shorts and flip-flops,” Joshua Goldfein, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, said. “The city is not getting any kind of real-time information on when and where these buses are going to arrive.”

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

After the City of Chicago recently instituted similar regulations on bus companies, Texas responded by sending buses to the suburbs of Chicago instead, according to Mr. Johnson.

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

It is unclear if Mr. Abbott will follow a similar playbook by sending buses to places outside New York City. A spokesman for Mr. Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If that happened, Mr. Goldfein said, “that would only highlight the recklessness and total disregard for the welfare of the people who are passengers on these buses.”

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

In the spring, Mr. Adams tried to send migrants north of the city, leading to an uproar among upstate county executives. They promptly issued dozens of executive orders attempting to bar migrants’ entry.

Daniel McCoy, the Albany County executive, said his county was already housing some 700 migrants and was at capacity. He said he wasn’t sure what he would do, should a bus from Texas show up on his county’s doorstep.

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

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

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 really are saying to bus operators and companies, ‘Do not participate in Governor Abbott’s actions,’” Mr. Adams said. “We want them to take the appropriate actions of being responsible.”

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