New York City Begins Handing Out Prepaid Debit Cards to Migrants Costing Taxpayers $53 Million

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New York City Begins Handing Out Prepaid Debit Cards to Migrants Costing Taxpayers $53 Million

New York City officials have officially launched the process of handing out prepaid debit cards to migrant families living in the city as part of the $53 million pilot program.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams‘ office confirmed that the first prepaid cards were handed out on Monday.

The cards are reportedly designed to purchase food and baby supplies.

The program, costing the taxpayers $53 million, has drawn criticism as many question why the funds are not being used to help struggling Americans.

The program will provide migrant families up to $350 each week and will expand to about 115 families, or roughly 460 people, over the coming weeks.

However, the cards can only be used at grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and bodegas.

Those eligible for the program must sign a document confirming they will only spend funds on food and baby supplies.

According to the mayor’s office, the pilot program was launched using a phased approach, starting at selected hotels.

City officials noted that the cards will be loaded with a week’s worth of funds at a time.

A City Hall spokesperson told Fox News that the city was “excited” about the launch of the new program, describing it as a “cost-saving measure [that] will replace the city’s current system of providing non-perishable food boxes to migrant families staying in hotels, much of which is often discarded.”

“A large part of our success is due to our constant work to find new ways to better serve the hundreds of individuals and families arriving every single day, as well as the longtime New Yorkers experiencing homelessness who are already in our care,” the spokesperson said.

“That is why we are excited to launch an innovative, cost-saving pilot program with Mobility Capital Finance to distribute prepaid cards to migrant families to purchase only food and baby supplies.”

“Not only will this provide families with the ability to purchase fresh food for their culturally-relevant diets and the baby supplies of their choosing, but the pilot program is expected to save New York City taxpayers more than $600,000 per month and $7 million per year,” the spokesperson added.

“The prepaid cards can be used exclusively at select stores to ensure the money is spent on food and baby supplies.”

The pilot program will pay more to migrants than to low-income and elderly American citizens who are receiving SNAP benefits.

Single households under the SNAP program are eligible for up to $291 per month. The program is aimed at providing “low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others” with money to buy food.

Adams defended the program and the “misinformation” surrounding it.

“We found that the food delivery service that we set up during the emergency – we could find a better way to do it in our belief that we want to cut 20% of the migrant costs,” he said.

“So we have a pilot project with 500 people that we are giving them food cards, so instead of a debit card, instead of having to deliver food, and have people eat food — we were seeing wasting food — they’re now able to get their own food, that is going to be spent $12 a day,” he said at the time.

“So we are going to save money on delivery, we’re going to save money on people wasting food, and this is a pilot project we’re going to use that is going to save us $6.7 million a year,” he added.

“And if the pilot turns out to be successful, then we’re going to expand it not only with the migrants and asylum seekers, we’d look to do that expansion throughout the entire system — trying to find smarter, more cost — effective ways to deal with this crisis that was dropped in our lap.”

However, critics said New York City’s handouts would encourage more immigration.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, a Tennessee Republican, posted on X:

“If I were promoting an event and wanted to attract the biggest possible crowd without worrying about losing money, I’d make admission free and give everyone complimentary pizza and beer.”

“That’s kinda immigration policy right now.”

READ: 50 Cent Torches NYC Mayor’s Plan to Give $53 Million to Migrants

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