Why New York’s Plan to Give Migrants Debit Cards Came Under Fire

The idea seemed like a common-sense solution: With thousands of meals intended for migrants uneaten and wasted, New York City leaders created a pilot program to distribute debit cards to families so they could purchase their own food.

The plan was quickly ridiculed by Republican leaders and conservative voices, who questioned the wisdom and fairness of giving debit cards to recent migrants, and predicted that it would be abused.

Questions were also raised about the cost to the city and how it chose the financial services company that will oversee the program, prompting Mayor Eric Adams to defend the plan.

Here is what you need to know:

What is the city’s new plan?

The debit cards are meant to be used for food and baby supplies. Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The city is planning to give prepaid debit cards to 500 migrant families with children to help them pay for food and baby supplies as part of a pilot program. The cards can only be used at supermarkets, bodegas, grocery stores and convenience stores.

City officials said the cards would be loaded once a month, with each person receiving about $12 per day; for a family of four, that would be roughly $1,440 per month.

Back to top button