NYC boasts taxpayer-funded card program for illegal immigrants is helping lead nation through ‘crisis’

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NYC boasts taxpayer-funded card program for illegal immigrants is helping lead nation through ‘crisis’

New York City officials are boasting that a taxpayer-funded program that hands out $350 per week to migrant families is helping to set an example for the rest of the nation on how to manage the “national humanitarian crisis” created by mass illegal immigration.

Although the program has drawn opposition from critics who question giving illegal immigrants no-strings handouts from the city’s strapped coffers, officials seem to think the program is a major success.

“New York City is leading the nation in managing this national humanitarian crisis, having cared for more than 203,900 migrants since the spring of 2022 and helping more than 65 percent move out of our care and take the next steps in their journeys,” a city hall spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

New York City officials began giving out prepaid debit cards to migrant families residing in the Big Apple earlier this year. The prepaid cards – the first of which were distributed in March as part of the city’s Immediate Response Cards (IRC) program – are meant to be used only to purchase essential items like food.

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The prepaid cards – the first of which were distributed in March as part of the city’s Immediate Response Cards program – are meant to be used only to purchase essential items like food. (Getty Images)

Through the program, the city hall spokesperson noted that New York City has “helped 900 migrant families – including over 1,300 children – purchase their own food and baby supplies at stores that sell groceries and convenience items.”

“This has helped circulate approximately $600,000 back into the New York City economy,” the spokesperson added.

But it is unclear exactly how much the city has spent on the program to date. The effort is part of what was reported earlier this year to be a $53 million pilot program to hand out prepaid credit cards to migrant families housed in hotels despite public outcry.

Access to the program, according to the mayor’s office, is limited to those in a separate program that provides four-week hotel stays to families with children, and families expecting children.

Allowances for illegal immigrants residing in the city are distributed on a weekly basis until the end of their four-week hotel stays, with families of four with two children under the age of five receiving up to nearly $350 each week.

The IRC program, the city said, is in a subsection of the locations where the city is providing shelter and care to migrants, representing less than one percent of the total population of migrants currently under the city’s care.

Migrants in NYC

Asylum seekers line up in front of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, converted into a city-run shelter for newly arrived migrant families, in New York City on September 27, 2023. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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At the start of the program, the cards were reportedly being distributed at the city’s arrival center, the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, to the migrant families who are staying at hotels that are being used as emergency shelters.

Adams, a Democrat, vehemently defended the program and the “misinformation” surrounding it earlier this year.

Appearing before a state legislative budget hearing in Albany in February, Adams said, “We’re not giving people American Express cards.”

“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. 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.

New York City’s government previously projected that it will spend at least $10.6 billion on migrants by the summer of 2025. New York state has already vowed to contribute about $2 billion in the current budget cycle to the migrant crisis, but Adams told lawmakers that the state’s pledge would only cover one-third of the city’s migrant costs.

New york CIty Migrants

Single migrant men, mostly from West Africa, congregate in Tompkins Square Park as volunteers give away food and clothing on January 27, 2024, in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Roughly 180,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since 2022, overwhelming city resources as officials have struggled to find housing for them. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has bused asylum-seekers to New York and other cities in an effort to assist them in traveling to sanctuary jurisdictions and also highlight the crisis that border communities face on a daily basis.



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