New York City is set to expand its program aimed at providing prepaid debit cards to illegal alien families currently residing in hotels, enabling them to purchase essential items, including food.


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City officials have revealed that over the next six months, approximately 7,300 prepaid debit cards, with a total value exceeding $2.6 million, will be distributed. This expansion will extend the program from three hotels to 17, potentially benefitting around 1,230 illegal aliens every month.


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This initiative has faced significant opposition from Republicans, who fear potential misuse of the cards and argue that illegal aliens are receiving preferential treatment over New York residents.


Since the program’s launch, the city has actively cared for over 60,000 illegal aliens. By implementing the prepaid debit card system, officials hope to reduce the financial burden associated with supporting this population, which has seen an influx of more than 200,000 arrivals within the past two years.


In February, Mayor Eric Adams announced that illegal alien families would receive $13 per day on a prepaid debit card to cover basic needs. The program was initially tested with a small group of families residing in city-run shelters, benefiting approximately 3,000 illegal aliens across three hotels.


Anne Williams-Isom, New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, stated that the program has been successful in allowing newly arrived illegal alien families to make decisions for themselves and their children using debit cards. She emphasized the empowerment of individuals and the goal of self-sufficiency in accessing the American Dream.


Despite these claims, Joseph Borelli, the Republican minority leader on the City Council, voiced concerns regarding the financial burden placed on taxpayers due to the city’s growing illegal alien population. He criticized the program, stating that it signaled a perpetual migrant crisis and an ongoing obligation for taxpayers.


To address concerns of potential misuse, participants in the program must sign an affidavit confirming that they will only utilize the prepaid debit cards for purchasing food and baby supplies. Moreover, the cards are designed to function solely at specific stores, allegedly ensuring their use aligns with the intended purpose.


Under state law, New York City is obligated to provide food to illegal aliens as part of the right-to-shelter requirement, a longstanding commitment to housing for New Yorkers. The prepaid debit cards are targeted at illegal aliens residing in select hotels designated as emergency shelters through a 28-day voucher program. This new program allegedly offers a more cost-effective alternative to the previous system of meal delivery, which was projected to cost approximately $5.6 million for the remainder of the year.