Investigation Into Mayor Adams’ $53 Million Debit Card Program for Migrants Raises Questions on Taxpayer Dollars

Investigation Into Mayor Adams’ $53 Million Debit Card Program for Migrants Raises Questions on Taxpayer Dollars

City Council’s investigation regarding Mayor Adams’ initiative to provide undocumented border crossers with $10,000 prepaid debit cards funded by taxpayers’ dollars has raised questions on how the Mayor spends tax payer’s money.

This controversial move has stirred concerns about a $53 million contract with Mobility Capital Finance, with significant fees attached, raising questions about transparency and the allocation of public funds.

Controversial Contract Details:

The $53 million contract under scrutiny has been reviewed by CBS New York, shedding light on substantial fees awarded to Mobility Capital Finance.

The fees include a one-time set-up fee of $125,000, annual management fees totaling $250,000, and additional fees based on the amount of money distributed to migrants.

Notably, the contract outlines $1.5 million for the first $50 million distributed and $2.5 million for the subsequent $100 million.

Mayor’s Program and Justification:

Mayor Eric Adams has defended the initiative, asserting that providing asylum seekers with debit cards for purchasing their own essentials will lead to significant cost savings for the city.

The proposed debit cards are intended to replace non-perishable food boxes currently provided to migrants. The cards will be loaded with an average of $12.52 per person per day for a duration of 28 days.

According to Kayla Mamelak, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams, this approach aligns with existing federally funded health and nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC, which utilize similar prepaid cards.

Concerns from City Council:

Amidst the Mayor’s rationale, questions arise regarding the decision to award a $53 million no-bid contract without exploring potential alternative deals.

The head of the City Council’s oversight and investigations committee expresses skepticism about the lack of a competitive bidding process, questioning why the city did not seek a better deal before committing to such a substantial contract.

Public Backlash and Social Media Reaction:

Public opinion on the initiative is divided, with a Facebook post expressing concern that the program may exacerbate the city’s illegal immigration challenges.

The post highlights the $53 million in free prepaid debit cards as a potential risk, suggesting that the city may face worsening consequences in managing the illegal crisis.

Clarification on Card Type and Usage:

To address misinformation, it’s important to note that the prepaid debit cards distributed under the pilot program are not credit cards.

Instead, migrants are restricted to using these cards exclusively for purchasing food and baby supplies at designated retailers.

This clarification aims to dispel misconceptions and ensure a more accurate understanding of the program’s nature.

City Council’s Call for Investigation:

Councilmember Gale Brewer advocates for a comprehensive investigation into the pilot program, emphasizing the importance of exploring competitive bidding to secure the best possible services at a reasonable cost for taxpayers.

Brewer’s stance reflects a commitment to ensuring accountability and transparency in the administration’s decision-making processes.


As the City Council gears up for an investigation into Mayor Adams’ $53 million debit card program, questions surrounding the contract’s terms and potential alternatives persist.

The public’s divided opinion and social media reactions underscore the importance of a thorough examination to address concerns and uphold responsible governance in managing taxpayer dollars.

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