New York City launches $53 million program to support illegal immigrants with prepaid credit cards

Each card will be replenished every 28 days, with the amount allocated based on family size; for instance, a family of four could receive up to $1,000 monthly.

New York City launches $53 million program to support illegal immigrants with prepaid credit cards
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki
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New York City, led by Mayor Eric Adams, is introducing a new $53 million initiative, the Immediate Response Card program, aimed at supporting illegal immigrant families with prepaid credit cards.

Managed by the New Jersey-based company Mobility Capital Finance, the program is set to distribute credit cards to approximately 500 families initially, allowing them to purchase food and baby supplies. This move is intended to transition away from the food service currently provided at temporary shelters like the Roosevelt Hotel.

Each card will be replenished every 28 days, with the amount allocated based on family size; for instance, a family of four could receive up to $1,000 monthly, the New York Post reported.

Participants are required to commit to spending the funds exclusively on essential items through an affidavit. The Adams administration anticipates that this pilot could potentially save the city over $600,000 per month, amounting to more than $7.2 million annually, by replacing the current system which costs around $11 per meal for those housed in hotels.

The program emerges as Mayor Adams consistently urges the federal government for more robust measures to manage the influx of illegal immigrants to New York City.

Despite previously celebrating NYC's sanctuary city status, Adams has faced challenges due to the significant number of arrivals, notably attributing part of the strain to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's decision to bus immigrants to New York. The city has also been forced to make budget cuts in areas like police and education to accommodate the financial demands of this crisis.

Since 2022, over 150,000 illegal immigrants have arrived in New York City, drawn by lenient border policies. This has led both Mayor Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul to seek further assistance from the Biden administration, highlighting the crisis's projected $12 billion cost to city taxpayers over the next three years.

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