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New York rule change makes thousands of migrants eligible for cash payments

The state of New York has been providing cash assistance to thousands of migrants who typically wouldn’t qualify under eligibility rules for the state’s welfare program.

New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration quietly changed the “Safety Net Assistance” program rules in May. The change allows non-citizen asylum seekers with pending applications to receive benefits, making thousands of migrants eligible per a New York Post report confirmed by Fox News.

The change was made via the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), which informed social services agencies in a message. OTDA wouldn’t disclose the number getting payments but said only a “small portion” of the $4.3 billion migrant fund has gone to them. OTDA estimated around 90% of migrants in New York currently wouldn’t qualify under the new rules.

But with over 173,000 migrants in New York City since 2022, 10% would mean 17,000 recipients just there. Migrants can only use the checks, totaling hundreds of dollars monthly, for necessities like rent, utilities, and clothing.

An OTDA spokesperson said the change provides “certain additional support in compliance with state and federal law.” But critics slammed the move as offensive and attracting migrants while citizens struggle.

Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis called it “another way to attract migrants” amid working-class struggles. Democratic Councilman Robert Holden said “endless handouts to the entire world” slap citizens.

Lora Ries of The Heritage Foundation said New York leaders should prioritize citizens over “illegal aliens” when distributing limited resources. Ries argued the benefits encourage more illegal immigration.

But OTDA maintained only those legally in the country can get benefits, saying “no one here illegally is eligible.”