According to NYC officials, the program is estimated to save the city $7.2 million a year.
New York City is rolling out a pilot program to give migrants pre-paid debit cards to be used exclusively at bodegas, supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores. As CBS News reports, the program is estimated to save the city $7.2 million annually through a partnership with Mobility Capital Finance.
Wole Coaxum, the CEO of Mobility Capital Finance, released a statement detailing the program’s aims. “MoCaFi’s goal is to expand access to financial resources for individuals excluded from banking, such as asylum seekers while helping the local economy. It is an honor to be a part of the effort to welcome and support asylum seekers as they begin to plant their roots in this country.”
If the program is successful, Fox 5 NY reports, the program will be expanded to more families. However, not everyone is on board. New York City councilman Joe Borelli accused the program of giving migrants a free ride, saying, “We’re just giving this migrant population more free stuff at the expense of New York City taxpayers.”
In essence, the program is no different than an EBT card. Though the price tag is $53 million, that price tag is cheaper than the boxed meal system that the city currently employs to assist migrants, who were largely bused to the city on the order of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The city is also currently experiencing a high demand for food, and according to Fox 5, there are reports of food being wasted at various shelters in New York, as well as questions about the quality of the food served.
Immigration advocate Power Malu is critical of the program for a different reason: Malu doesn’t believe it is practical for migrants to purchase food they can’t cook. “Purchasing food at the supermarket is not cheap anymore, and on top of that, they don’t have kitchens, so how are they going to purchase the food that they want?”
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Source: Black Enterprise