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NYC Mayor Adams Defends Controversial $53M Prepaid Card Program for Migrant Families

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams faced scrutiny after it was revealed that he approved a reported $53 million pilot program to distribute prepaid credit cards to migrant families housed in hotels. Defending the initiative during a state legislative budget hearing in Albany, Mayor Adams claimed the program has cost-saving measures.

Adams attempted to quell the uproar by clarifying that the program would be giving out prepaid food cards, not American Express credit cards. The rationale behind this initiative is to improve food distribution efficiency and reduce wastage, he said, claiming it would ultimately cut costs by 20% in migrant support expenses. The mayor highlighted that the pilot project, involving 500 individuals, is expected to save approximately $6.7 million annually.

The prepaid cards, valued at about $350 per month per migrant, aim to empower recipients to purchase their own food and baby supplies. This allocation surpasses the assistance provided to low-income New Yorkers under SNAP benefits, with migrants receiving 40% more than what the state offers to its residents in need. Additionally, the program’s funding exceeds monthly services for single veterans in the state, reports Fox News.

Mayor Adams’s defense of the program coincided with the annual “Tin Cup Day,” where mayors present budgetary requests to the state legislature. Highlighting the exponential increase in the city’s shelter population since taking office, Adams appealed for greater state support, urging the state to cover 50% of the costs associated with addressing the migrant crisis in NYC.

The magnitude of the migrant crisis in New York City is substantial, with projected expenditures exceeding $10.6 billion by summer 2025. While the state has pledged approximately $2 billion to mitigate the crisis in the current budget cycle, Mayor Adams emphasized that this commitment falls short, covering only one-third of the city’s expenses related to supporting migrants.

Critics have raised concerns about the program’s generosity compared to existing assistance programs for vulnerable populations within the city and state. The Senate border funding bill released Sunday night allocates $1.4 billion in funding for nonprofit organizations helping migrants who enter the country illegally.

Page 67 of the 370-page bill contains a provision that states that “$1,400,000,000 shall be transferred to ‘Federal Emergency Management Agency–Federal Assistance’ to support sheltering and related activities provided by non-Federal entities through the Shelter Services Program.” The Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 allocates $118 billion in total, including $48 billion to aid Ukraine during its war against Russia and nearly $16 billion to aid Israel during its conflict with Hamas until Dec. 31.

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Nation

Canadian-U.S. border illegal crossings up 240% over previous year

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The vulnerability of the northern border of the United States is being weaponized in the war on illegal migration. 2023 saw a 240% increase of individuals apprehended from just one year prior. Not only is the border with Canada significantly longer than its border with Mexico, but its ports of entry are often understaffed while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is forced to prioritize the southern surge.

According to recent data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in 2023 authorities halted over 12,000 migrants attempting illegal crossings at the Canadian border. The number is a 240% increase from the preceding year when 3,579 individuals were apprehended.

ADN America reports that approximately 70% of the illegal crossings took place along a 295-mile stretch along the northern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire border called the Swanton Sector.

Chief patrol agent for the sector, Robert Garcia, posted on social media that the 3,100 individuals apprehended were from 55 different countries. 

Garcia wrote “the record-breaking surge of illegal entries from Canada continues in Swanton Sector” and he specifically mentioned that the arrest of 10 Bangladeshi citizens was prompted by a citizen’s report in Champlain, New York.

Surprisingly, ADN reports:

A significant number of those engaging in illegal crossings are Mexicans who exploit the opportunity to fly to Canada without a visa, also avoiding the presence of cartels in their home countries.

Experts suggest that migrants can purchase a $350 one-way plane ticket from Mexico City or Cancun to Montreal or Toronto. This route is perceived as offering a lower likelihood of being turned away compared to those crossing the southern border.

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