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NYC giving $53 million to illegal immigrants in pre-paid debit cards

Mayor Eric Adams is pictured during in-person media availability in city hall Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News/TNS)
February 05, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s administration will be giving pre-paid debit cards to illegal immigrants who are already being provided with free hotel rooms. The pre-paid debit cards will be part of a $53 million pilot program intended to cover the daily cost of food for illegal immigrants in the city.

According to New York City records, the Housing Preservation and Development’s $53 million “Immediate Response Cards” pilot program will be overseen by Mobility Capital Finance, a New Jersey company.

“MoCaFi will launch and pilot the Immediate Response Cards by first supporting families with children in HPD’s care who are staying in hotels,” city records state. “MoCaFi will support this program by providing the families Immediate Response Cards to help subsidize their food and supplies. IRCs will be hand delivered at the Roosevelt Hotel (the first touchpoint for new arriving asylum seekers) and distributed by MoCaFi staff directly to asylum seekers receiving financial assistance.”

According to The New York Post, the pilot program will start with 500 illegal immigrant families currently staying at the Roosevelt Hotel and will replace the city’s current food service for illegal immigrants at the hotel.

READ MORE: Illegal immigrants enter NYC by train after mayor blocks buses: Report

The New York Post reported that pre-paid debit cards can only be used by illegal immigrants to purchase food and essential supplies at grocery stores, convenience stores, and bodegas. To receive the pre-paid debit cards, illegal immigrants will have to sign a sworn affidavit confirming that they will only use the cards to purchase food and baby supplies.

Details of the contract reviewed by The New York Post indicate that the amount of money on the pre-paid debit cards will be dependent on the size of each illegal immigrant family and the family’s monthly income.

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

City officials have indicated that the pilot program will be expanded to include roughly 15,000 illegal immigrant families currently staying in New York City hotels if the program is successful.

“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,” Kayla Mamelak, an Adams spokesperson, said.