Thursday, April 4, 2024

Migrants' Monthly Payment in NYC Is Higher Than Veterans Compensation

 NYC Migrants 

A family of four migrants in New York City receives more monthly funding than a family of four that includes a military veteran who receives disability compensation.

New York City has taken in more than 175,000 migrants and spent upward of $1.45 billion just in fiscal year 2023 to shelter, feed and provide services to migrants. The city has said there is "no end in sight" to the copious numbers of migrants and projects that an extended timeline of the current rate of migration means a cost to the city of approximately $12 billion by the 2025 fiscal year.

Mayor Eric Adams, who like mayors in Chicago and Denver has requested more assistance from the federal government, has said the influx of migrants could "destroy" his city. He has feuded with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has bused illegal migrants to Northern cities because of their sanctuary status.

Migrants coming to New York City are being given prepaid debit cards that in certain cases, like food assistance, dwarf the amounts provided to families of legal status. For example, the average family of four's monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payment is $713, but migrant families of four receive $1,400 a month.

That total is also higher than military veterans' disability compensation. A veteran who has a 50 percent disability rating and a spouse and one child receives $1,255.16 once every four weeks, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

When a child under age 18 is added to that family, the payment rises $51 to $1,306.16 a month—still nearly $100 less than what a migrant family of four receives from the prepaid card assistance.

Vets on SNAP programs can use that money for food in addition to disability compensation they receive from the government.

Adams has said that the prepaid cards, part of a $53 million budget allocation that is replacing food boxes offered to migrants at New York City hotels, will cut "20 percent of the migrant costs" in the city.

Under Adams' program, 10 migrant families were provided in late March with Immediate Response Cards loaded with $350 a week for a family of four to spend on essential purchases at bodegas, grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. The pilot program will be rolled out to 500 people.

The cards are being distributed at the Roosevelt Hotel, which has been a migrant shelter since last year and, according to New York's Department of Citywide Administrative Services, "the first touchpoint for new arriving asylum seekers."

In February, Kayla Mamelak, deputy press secretary for Mayor Adams, disputed a New York Post report (which was later updated) that Mobility Capital Finance Inc. (MoCaFi) would be involved in doling out some $50 million to migrants under a new plan.

"The suggestion that New York City is handing out thousands of dollars in free cash to migrants who are only in our care for 60 days is not only false but also contractually impossible," Mamelak told Newsweek at the time. "As we have repeatedly said, the MoCaFi pilot program can only be utilized at supermarkets and bodegas, and it is expected to save the city millions of dollars in services for families with children in our care."

Money being given to migrants has been criticized by New York City Republican Councilwoman Vickie Paladino, who said Sunday on CBS New York's The Point With Marcia Kramer that one of her own employees is a single mother with two kids and "she doesn't even have $350 a week to spend on food, period."

In December, Paladino wrote an op-ed in the New York Post excoriating city officials for providing money and resources to migrants and not looking after the needs of New York residents.

"In our New York City, we are currently staring down a multi-billion-dollar deficit while our streets are falling into disorder, our infrastructure crumbles, our social safety net is collapsing, and our frontline workers are stretched beyond their limits," she wrote. "We are spending more taxpayer money to care for foreign nationals than we are on the annual budgets of the NYPD, FDNY and Department of Sanitation, combined."

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