New York City begins pilot program to hand out prepaid, weekly debit cards to 460 illegal immigrants at Roosevelt Hotel

The previous program entailed the city handing out non-perishable food boxes, most of which was discarded.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

New York City has begun handing out prepaid debit cards to illegal immigrants in the city this week under a $53 million contract for the deal.

According to the New York Post, staffers with Mobility Capital Finance handed out eight preloaded cards to illegal immigrants at the Roosevelt Hotel on Monday as part of the pilot program, and a City Hall spokesperson said that the program would expand to 115 cards by next week.

The program was scaled back from the original plan of giving out a month’s worth of money for food and baby supplies at a time, down to being reloaded once per week.

The City Hall spokesperson said that a family with two parents and kids under the age of five will receive around $350 per week.

Around 460 illegal immigrants will be covered under the pilot program of the 64,500 illegal immigrants under the city’s care.

"This cost-saving measure will replace the city’s current system of providing non-perishable food boxes to migrant families staying in hotels, much of which is often discarded,” Adams spokesperson Kayla Mamalek said.

An emergency contract was signed with the tech start-up, with a potential net profit for the company amounting to $1.8 million through a cut of the funds loaded onto each Mastercard.

An emergency contract bypasses the typical budding process for such programs, with the Addams administration stating that the emergency contract was needed to avoid delays in rolling out the program. Despite this, it took over two months for the cards to start being handed out.

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