NYC to Give Migrants Thousands of Dollars in Debit Cards

$50 million is going towards issuing prepaid debit cards to illegal migrants.

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: New York City is gearing up to spend upwards of $50 million to distribute debit cards to illegal migrants.

  • The details: Mayor Eric Adams proposed a pilot program to directly give families money as a way of avoiding waste. He claimed the program would include 500 families receiving around $12.50 a day.

  • Why? It is being framed as a solution to New York City’s food waste; the vendor providing meals to migrants throws away $7.2 million worth of food per year.

However: The city is paying Mobility Capital Finance $53 million for the service of simply issuing the debit cards. The city will be spending additional, separate funds to fill the cards.

  • And: The relevant contract says that the city could put up to $10,000 on each card, not the $1,000 initially claimed by the mayor.

Money saver? If the pilot program went according to Mayor Adams’ claims — $1,000 a month for 500 families, presumably for one year — would cost $6 million. However, under the contract, an initial $53 million will be allocated to the bank with no specified limit on the total amount the city can later load onto the cards.

  • More: There is no way to ensure these cards are not obtained fraudulently, as the contract says there will be no ID checks or registration. Minors will also be able to receive cards with parental consent.