New York City council member criticizes Adams’ $53M migrant debit card program

City council members in New York City are expressing concerns over Mayor Eric Adams’ recent decision to distribute debit cards with pre-loaded funds to migrants. According to these council members, this initiative is attracting more asylum seekers to the city.

Vickie Paladino, a Republican representative from Northeast Queens, expresses concern over the provision of funds to asylum seekers in the form of debit cards, stating that it has become an “incentive” for migrants to come to the city.

“We often hear from the migrants themselves that they choose to come to New York because they are aware that the state provides welfare benefits,” she explained to Fox News. “It is concerning that this untraceable free money is being distributed to individuals who do not have a rightful place here.”

Paladino’s remarks contribute to the increasing criticism surrounding the contentious program. The program commenced last week, with approximately 115 families receiving their pre-loaded debit cards in the first round of disbursements.

The program is a collaboration between Adams and Mobility Capital Finance, aiming to provide assistance to approximately 500 migrant families by offering up to $1,000 per month. This financial aid will help migrants cover their basic needs such as food, baby supplies, and other necessities while they wait for authorization to work from the federal government.

The Adams administration presented the pilot program as a way to save costs. The program will serve as a temporary replacement for New York City’s current system of supplying non-perishable food boxes to migrant families who are residing in hotels and other shelters funded by the city. According to the Adams administration, the program is estimated to incur a monthly expense of around $600,000.

According to published news reports, the program allows a family of four with children under five years old to receive up to $350 per week through the use of debit cards. This amounts to approximately $18,200 per year.

Over the past year, New York City has experienced an unprecedented influx of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border, with over 183,000 asylum seekers arriving in the city. In response to this surge, the city has allocated more than $1 billion to provide support and care for tens of thousands of migrants. Looking ahead, it is anticipated that New York City will spend approximately $10 billion on migrant expenses in the years to come.

According to Council member Joseph Borelli, the use of debit cards is unfair to the working poor in the city, as they do not receive similar benefits.

According to Borelli, it’s frustrating for New Yorkers to witness migrants receiving free debit cards while they are being charged $15 to enter Manhattan, alluding to the recent implementation of congestion pricing toll in New York City.

According to Paladino, she has been contacted by concerned constituents who are fed up with the influx of migrants into New York City. They are growing increasingly apprehensive about a rise in crime that is associated with these new arrivals.

In an interview with Fox News, she expressed her concern over the rising number of crimes committed by migrants, stating that it is reminiscent of third-world countries.

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