NYC Sues Over Migrant Buses | Crooked Media
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January 04, 2024
What A Day
NYC Sues Over Migrant Buses

In This Episode

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings in Iran that killed at least 84 people and injured 284 others on Wednesday. Plus, the United States launched a drone strike in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad on Thursday, killing a senior commander of an Iran-linked militia group and several others.
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday that he filed a lawsuit against 17 charter bus companies used by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to bus people seeking asylum at the border to New York. Adams is asking the companies to pay $708 million to cover the costs of caring for migrants.
  • And in headlines: Donald Trump’s businesses received more than $7.8 million from at least 20 foreign governments during his time in office, a 17-year-old gunman opened fire at a high school in Iowa on Thursday, and Britney Spears took to social media to shut down rumors of a new comeback album.


Show Notes:



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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Friday, January 5th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What a Day, the podcast that asks peloton instructors out there, please only say nice things about What a Day. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Because Christopher Nolan said yesterday that he was once in a class and the instructor panned one of his films. 


Priyanka Aribindi: If I was doing an incredibly hard workout and someone was there insulting my life’s work, yeah, I’d freak the fuck out. I’m sorry, I get it. I get why he’s upset. [music break]


Josie Duffy Rice: On today’s show, officials in New York, Chicago and more take action to prevent Republicans in other states from bussing migrants their way. Plus, new evidence shows Trump raked in millions from foreign governments during his presidency. 


Priyanka Aribindi: New evidence, but a story many of us who are paying attention are familiar with. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Uh but first, we have many updates from all over the Middle East. First, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings in Iran near the burial site of former military commander Qassem Soleimani earlier this week. We told you about that attack yesterday. The two bombs killed at least 84 people and injured 284 others on Wednesday. That death toll number was revised by Iran’s interior minister yesterday. And that attack was the deadliest within Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Some important context here. ISIS is a Sunni Muslim extremist group. Iran, on the other hand, is a majority Shiite Muslim country. Soleimani, the man whose death was being commemorated by these people before this attack, was responsible for building an alliance of Shiite Muslim militant groups all around the region. So he was certainly not somebody that these Sunni groups cared for whatsoever. This is not the first time that groups affiliated with the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for attacks within Iran. Prior to this week, the most recent one was in October of 2022, when a gunman in the city of Shiraz killed 13 people. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this is pretty different than the initial assumptions, right, by some Iranian leaders and others who thought that this attack was basically launched by Israel. Is that correct? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. I mean, President Ebraham Raisi of Iran and other leaders were very quick to blame Israel for the attack initially. For some context, Iran backs Hamas, which is the same group that Israel has been waging war with in Gaza since October. And earlier this week, Israel carried out a strike on a Hamas leader in Lebanon. So lots happening in the region. But Israel was not responsible here. And American officials don’t believe that ISIS was trying to, you know, pin this on Israel during this period of unrest or spur a wider war in the region. They think that the group was just using the anniversary of Soleimani’s death to make their point. 


Josie Duffy Rice: You mentioned that strike on a Hamas leader in Lebanon that also happened recently. So what more can you tell us about that and the fallout from that as well? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, something, you know, many people have been watching very closely in the past couple days. In a speech yesterday, the head of Hezbollah, which is the dominant militant group in Lebanon, Hasan Nasrallah, vowed, quote, “response and punishment” after the drone strike, which was believed to have been launched by Israel. Israel hasn’t officially taken responsibility. Doing so comes with a whole host of other issues, but there are a lot of fears about what could follow this strike. The fallout that you mentioned. This attack took place in a densely populated residential area in Beirut, while Hezbollah and the IDF have traded fire across the border for a while. Up until this week, nothing like this had hit the capital. Lebanon also is a sovereign nation. Israel is not officially at war with them at this point. We hope it stays that way. So this is a very tense moment that this is adding into. But the violence, you know, still continues to mount with the U.S. actually getting involved elsewhere as well. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s the other big news, right. There was a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad yesterday, which– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: When I heard that I was it brought back some memories. Um. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Of hearing U.S. drone strikes in Baghdad. Can you tell us more about what happened there? Like why the U.S. got involved? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So U.S. special ops launched an airstrike of their own in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad yesterday. They killed a senior commander and several others in an Iran linked militia group. That group has claimed responsibility for several attacks on American forces in the past. They are designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, and the Pentagon said that yesterday’s strike was in self-defense. They added that no civilians were harmed. Of course, Iraqi leadership is not happy about a strike by the U.S. in their capital, especially given the context of this week and what just happened in Beirut. A spokesperson for the Iraqi government called the attack a, quote, “flagrant violation of the sovereignty and security of Iraq” and, quote, “no different from a terrorist act.” U.S. strikes abroad are not anything new. In the past few weeks alone, there have been over 70 attacks on U.S. bases and camps in Iraq and Syria by similar armed groups, also backed by Iran. The U.S. military has sent strikes and taken other military action in response, but they’ve avoided doing anything like this in Baghdad itself recently because, you know, it’s such a densely populated area. And now this latest strike risks further aggravating an already very volatile situation in the region, especially given the US’s ongoing funding and support of Israel’s military action in Gaza. Just a lot going on here. We will, of course, continue to keep you updated on the latest in the region. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Now we’re going to talk about the continuing crisis that Republican governors are creating by sending migrants to other states. First, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday that he filed a lawsuit against 17 charter bus companies used by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to bus people seeking asylum at the border to New York. The suit claims that the bus companies are receiving about five times the cost of a ticket from Texas to New York for each passenger they send. They’re getting about $1,600 for each passenger versus the $300 ticket that it would normally cost, according to the suit. And it alleges bad faith and, quote, “evil intention on the part of the bus companies for participating in Abbott’s bussing scheme.” 


Priyanka Aribindi: But what is the result that Eric Adams is looking for is he, you know, hoping that these companies will stop busing migrants to New York? You know, what is he looking for? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, so that’s part of it. Um. But he’s also asking the companies to pay the estimated cost of, quote, “caring.” And I say caring in quotes because the care has not been so caring at some points. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: But the estimated cost of, quote, “caring” for these migrants thus far, which according to the lawsuit, is an estimated $708 million dollars. I think it’s worth mentioning like this isn’t my area of legal expertise, but this is a stretch of a lawsuit and certainly not like a definite win for the city. But I’m assuming that part of the hope is that it incentivizes these companies to stop doing this. If they–


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –have to fight a lawsuit about this, like even if they win in the end, it’s a lot of money, it’s a lot of effort, and it makes it less lucrative. Right? To be–


Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –part of this pattern. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. And especially staring down the barrel of like, a $708 million dollar–


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –cost that they could incur, you know, may just reinforce that these companies have done something bad. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And, you know, all of this comes after Governor Abbott and a few other border state governors, including Ron DeSantis, have been busing and sometimes flying migrants north for many months now, particularly to big cities like New York and Chicago. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, this has been going on for a while, and it has led to cities and states pushing back on this practice. So this is just like one of the latest tactics to get it to stop, they’re basically trying all the creative ways that they can to end this policy. Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And as we’ve talked about before on this show, shelters in these cities remain packed and resources to support these migrants who are, again, seeking asylum. That’s a very key part of this. They’re very, very limited. In fact, Chicago as of Tuesday, is housing about 15,000 asylum seekers in 27 shelters. So imagine that’s 15,000 people in 27 shelters. That’s going to be really, really packed, right? And due to the limited space, a few hundred migrants that were recently bused to Chicago have been sleeping inside city busses while they await space and shelter. So, to be clear, these are not the charter busses. These are regular Chicago city busses that are being turned into, quote, “warming busses” at night for migrants to sleep. 


Priyanka Aribindi: They’re sleeping in a bus, A, so–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That’s horrible. This is also winter in Chicago. January in Chicago. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Freezing I can say. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: From firsthand experience. So this is very clearly not a comfortable or humane situation. I mean, I’m sure people are trying to do the best with what they can, but this is not by any means okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The city is calling them warming busses. But like you said, I have my doubts about how warm they could possibly be. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And like you said, it’s very clear that this is a crisis situation for people who are seeking asylum, given that these cities just don’t have the necessary infrastructure. And meanwhile, many suburbs of New York and Chicago are straight up rejecting migrants from even entering so. In Rockford, Illinois local officials said that the approximately 350 migrants who arrived on a flight to the town would simply not be allowed to stay. In Grundy County, Illinois there are signs on the highway that state, quote, “no migrant busses this exit,” basically warning the busses just not to stop there. And in Edison, New Jersey, the mayor, quote, “warned he would send people back to the border if they came to his city in busses. According to the Associated Press. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s very clear that these governors are just treating these busses full of people like they are pawns. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Moving them around to, you know, get people to–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –reject them or to fill up shelters and stress these cities out and and try to make a point using people who are oftentimes confused, don’t know what’s happening to them, just like innocent people who really have done nothing wrong. It is cruel and it’s disgusting. It really is. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It feels just very heartbreaking for people who, again, are seeking asylum from where they came from. They are already coming from very difficult situations. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. And is Governor Abbott sending these busses to the suburbs anyways? What’s going on with that?


Josie Duffy Rice: The reason that these busses are going to the New York suburbs, at least, has to do with a new executive order that Eric Adams signed last week that basically requires these busses to, quote, “provide 32 hours notice in advance of their arrival.” And it also limited the hours that they can arrive in the city to between 8:30 a.m. and noon. And that comes after 14 busses arrived in New York in one night last month. So basically making it more difficult for these busses to show up at any point. And as a result, Governor Abbott is having these busses go to the suburbs, largely in Jersey, dropping migrants off at the train station and then having them get to New York that way. So this just basically seems like every kind of tactic that these cities are using to try to limit how many migrants are coming in from Governor Abbott’s political policy scheme thing. Basically, every time that they try to limit that, he’s finding another way to get them in. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Josie Duffy Rice: So you can’t come in on the bus, then we’ll drop you off in the suburbs. You can go to the train. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right.


Josie Duffy Rice: Can’t come on the bus, we’ll take the plane like it’s just– 


Priyanka Aribindi: He just keeps going. It really–


Josie Duffy Rice: He keeps going. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –never stops. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Yeah.


Priyanka Aribindi: What happens now? I’m, like, scared to even ask what? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Where do we go from here? 


Josie Duffy Rice: I think we don’t know. Right. Like, what point this stops or is alleviated? I mean, Abbott is basically infuriating governors and mayors left and right up north, which of course is 100% his goal. I mean, he’s loving how furious he’s making people. And meanwhile, of course, there’s the federal fight over migration at the border, which still continues. And the Biden administration also has a lot to say about this local situation, too. And they’re fed up with Governor Abbott as well. So here’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday. 


[clip of Alejandro Mayorkas] We have one governor in the state of Texas who is refusing to cooperate with other governors and other local officials and coordinate efforts to address a challenge that our country, which this country should stand united to address, that our country is facing. And it’s a remarkable failure of governance to refuse to cooperate with one’s fellow local and state officials. 


Josie Duffy Rice: More on all of this very soon. But that is the latest for now. We will be back after some ads. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Because he is the guy we know he is, businesses owned by former President Donald Trump received more than $7.8 million dollars from at least 20 foreign governments during his time in office. That is according to a new report released by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee yesterday. In the report, called White House for sale. House Dems said that China made the largest total payment of $5.5 million dollars at Trump properties and businesses, including the Trump Tower in New York and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., among others. The report also found that Saudi Arabia spent more than $600,000 at Trump properties and Qatar, Kuwait, India and Malaysia shelled out more than $200,000 each. The constitution, that little document that conservatives claim to love, prohibits any person holding office from accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. And according to the report, Trump never once went to Congress to get its consent while holding office. This, of course, comes as Republicans continue their impeachment inquiry into President Biden, of all people, which, as an important reminder, has not turned up any evidence of wrongdoing at all. 


Josie Duffy Rice: A 17 year old gunman opened fire at a high school in Iowa on Thursday, killing a sixth grader and wounding five other people, including the school’s principal. According to local police, the shooter was a student at Perry High School, where the tragedy took place. He was found dead at the scene with a shotgun, a handgun and a, quote, “improvised explosive device on his person.” Authorities believe that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but they gave no details on his potential motive. This all comes just as students were getting back in the classroom after winter break. 


Priyanka Aribindi: If it feels like everyone you know is getting sick with Covid right now, you are not wrong. We have some data to back that up. The US is currently in the midst of yet another winter Covid uptick, and the new dominant variant, known as JN.1, is responsible for nearly half of all Covid cases in the country. But thankfully, the uptick appears to be less deadly as compared to this time last year, and fewer people are being hospitalized. So let’s break down some of the numbers. In the week before Christmas, the CDC reported about 29,000 Covid hospitalizations, compared with 39,000 to the same time a year prior and 61,000 the year before that. But a minimum of 1200 Covid related deaths are still happening each week, though that is about one third of the Covid deaths this time last year. So the TLDR here is that Covid is on the rise right now all across the country, and experts are encouraging folks to mask up, get vaccinated against both Covid and the flu. And if you feel remotely sick, please, please, please stay home. Stay away from other people. Do not spread that around. And if you have not already, you can get your free at home Covid test from the government by going to Covid to place your order. I’m gonna be doing that right after we finish recording. We will also include the link to that in our show notes. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And finally, in some devastating news for the Britney Spears army. The former pop star took to social media yesterday to shut down rumors of a new comeback album. This comes after numerous tabloids reported that Spears was working with industry icons like Charli XCX and Julia Michaels on a new record that would have been her first in over a decade. And many of her fans have wondered if Spears would come out with more music, especially after releasing a new song with last year. You might remember that the pair shocked everyone when they dropped Mind Your Business in July. I have to say I– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Everyone. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And not me. I don’t remember it. I– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Me either. 


Josie Duffy Rice: –am just learning of this now. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Apparently we talked about it on the show is what I was told. Raven, our producer–


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –told me that just now. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I you know. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Beats me guys, I’m sorry.


Josie Duffy Rice: A lot’s happened since July. Okay? I wouldn’t know the song if it slapped me across the face. Anyways, Spears took to Instagram to set the record straight saying quote, “I will never return to the music industry. When I write. I write for fun or I write for other people.” She also went on to say that she prefers to be a ghostwriter for other artists without putting her name on any projects. So sadly, according to the Queen herself, it’s no longer Britney bitch. It’s over bitch. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, that’s funny, but this is sad. I mean, her experience was so ruined that she who like a true titan, a true icon, one of the biggest pop performers of our era, uh, is like, sorry, that shit sucked and I’m never doing it again. It’s sad. It really is sad. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. You know, it is sad. I just want to say never say never, Britney. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Never say never. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Britney’s Instagram, not the most reliable source of permanent news. So I just feel like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, she was skinny as a needle though. 


Josie Duffy Rice: That’s true. 


Priyanka Aribindi: She still is, still is. In the meantime, I’ll just be playing Scream and shout because I don’t know what mind your business is. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I don’t know what mind your business is. But I do know what sometimes is, 1999 anybody? And those are the headlines. 




Josie Duffy Rice: That’s all for today. If you liked the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. But if you’re a peloton instructor, leave only good reviews and tell your friends to listen. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just Britney’s writing for ghosts like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


[spoken together] And be kind to us Cody. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Please. I can’t take it if Cody didn’t like us, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. [music break]


Josie Duffy Rice: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.