People walk past recently-arrived migrants waiting on the sidewalk outside the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, where a temporary reception center has been established, in New York City, August 1, 2023.(Mike Segar/Reuters)

NYC to Give Migrant Families Pre-Paid Credit Cards Under $53 Million Pilot Program: Report

By BRITTANY BERNSTEIN |

New York City will soon launch a $53 million pilot program to hand out pre-paid credit cards to migrant families sheltering in the city’s hotels, according to a new report.

The program will begin with a group of 500 migrant families in short-term hotel stays and will supply them with the pre-paid cards that can only be used at bodegas, grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores, per the New York Post. The illegal immigrants will be required to sign an affidavit swearing to only spend the money on food and baby supplies, lest they be ousted from the program.

The funds will be doled out based on the size of the family and whether they are bringing in any income, the report says. For example, a family of four could receive nearly $1,000 a month, which works out to almost $35-per-day. By contrast, the city is currently paying about $11 per meal to feed migrant families.

The Immediate Response Card program, run by Mobility Capital Finance, will work in a similar manner to the state’s food stamp program, SNAP, which gives lower-income residents a pre-paid card to cover the cost of meals.

“MoCaFi looks forward to partnering with New York City to disburse funds for asylum seekers to purchase fresh, hot food,” MoCaFi CEO and founder Wole Coaxum told the New York Post. “MoCaFi’s goal is to expand access to financial resources for individuals excluded from banking, such as asylum seekers, while helping the local economy.”

If the pilot program is successful, the city has plans to expand it to the 15,000 migrant families sheltering in its hotels.

“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 Eric Adams.

Adams famously declared in 2019 (before he was mayor), “To anyone in the world fleeing hatred and oppression, the ultimate city of immigrants wants you to remember: you’re ALWAYS welcome here.”

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1 Comment
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