New York City, under the direction of Mayor Eric Adams, is set to begin a $53 million program that will give illegal immigrant families who have arrived in the Big Apple a prepaid credit card.
The Immediate Response Card program, which will be run by New Jersey company Mobility Capital Finance, will begin by giving around 500 illegal immigrant families a credit card to pay for food, The New York Post reported. The pilot program will replace the food service offered to them at the short-term shelter set up at the Roosevelt Hotel.
The initiative will work like the state’s food assistance program, and illegal immigrant families will be instructed to only use the prepaid credit cards at grocery stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets. The cards will be refilled every 28 days, and families have to sign an affidavit promising to spend the credit card funds only on food and baby supplies. Funds on the credit cards will vary depending on the size of the family, but a family of four could receive up to $1,000 a month, according to the Post.
The Adams administration said that the pilot program will save New York City taxpayers money as the government hopes to expand the prepaid credit card program to all illegal immigrant families in the city, which is an estimated 15,000 people.
“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 more than $600,000 per month, or more than $7.2 million annually,” said Kayla Mamelak, a spokeswoman for Mayor Adams.
Under the current assistance program, the city is paying around $11 per meal for illegal immigrants housed in hotels, and some illegal immigrants have complained to the Post about the meals, saying they would rather cook their own food in their rooms.
The pilot program will launch as Adams continues to call on the federal government to do more to stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming to NYC. The Democratic mayor, who once boasted of the Big Apple’s “sanctuary city” status, has blamed Texas Governor Greg Abbott for busing illegal immigrants to his doorstep and has sued bus companies for their role in transporting the illegal immigrants from the southern border.
Adams also recently slashed police and education budgets to deal with the crisis, saying that without federal help, the cuts would “only be the beginning.” Since 2022, over 150,000 illegal immigrants have trekked to New York City after taking advantage of President Joe Biden’s lax border policies.
Both Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul have repeatedly called on the Biden administration to do more to help the city deal with the influx of illegal immigrants, a crisis that city officials project will cost taxpayers $12 billion over three years.