New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) is expanding a program that provides newly arrived migrants with pre-loaded debit cards for food, funded by New York taxpayers.

The debit cards-for-migrants initiative began in February and initially cost about $53 million to support approximately 500 migrant families. This expansion comes despite a recent study revealing that 56 percent of New Yorkers live near the poverty line.

Adams now plans to increase the number of eligible migrants to over 7,300 within the next six months at a cost of about $2.6 million, according to the New York Times. The program, initially a pilot for roughly 900 families (nearly 3,000 migrants), will expand from three hotels to 17, serving about 1,230 people per month — roughly 2 percent of the migrant population.

The contract with Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi) could eventually cost up to $53 million, with $2 million going to MoCaFi and the rest to migrant families. Under the pilot program, a family of four received about $350 per week for a month.

Over the past two years, more than 200,000 migrants have arrived in New York City, a situation Mayor Adams has repeatedly criticized, stating that such migration levels could “destroy” the city’s quality of life.

In addition to the debit card program, Adams has implemented a widespread policy of using city funds to pay for hotel rooms for migrants. Consequently, over 16,500 hotel rooms are occupied by migrants, increasing room prices and making the city more expensive for tourists. Last year, the average rate for a hotel room in the city exceeded $300 a night.