Fox Host: It's Not “Fair” That Refugee Children Get So Much In Federal Benefits

Fox & Friends lamented that it’s not “fair” that poor children from households headed by U.S.-born parents are slightly less likely to receive government benefits than children from households with at least one refugee parent. Fox Business host Stuart Varney cited a report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) that found that 30 percent of children from refugee families and 27 percent of children from American-born families receive benefits and asked “is it fair if refugee families with children get more benefits than native-born citizens, children, who are poor?” But Varney ignored the fact that the total refugee population is relatively small -- MPI found that young children (ages 10 and younger) of refugees comprise only two percent of all young children in the U.S. -- so the total number of refugee children receiving benefits would not be more than the total number of children with U.S.-born parents. Varney dismissed the fact that many of the refugee families come from war-torn societies, claiming “it's a question of fairness” and suggesting the country can't “afford it.” From the April 26 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

Video file

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Coming to America may be better than being born in America, believe it or not, at least if you're poor. A new report from a pro-immigration advocacy group says that children of refugees are actually getting more in federal benefits than the children of poor American citizens.


STUART VARNEY: It's a question of fairness, ok? We want to be generous as a society, and I think America is exceptionally generous, especially to children. But is it fair if refugee families with children get more benefits than native-born citizens, children, who are poor? ​


VARNEY: It’s a question of fairness.

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Do you have some numbers?

VARNEY: Yeah, I do. Just look at this for a second. If you look at the distribution of food stamps, 30 percent of children in refugee families get food stamps, compared to U.S.-born kids, poor American-born children it's 27 percent. 


VARNEY: Well, it's hard to say why. It's given the circumstances of the families involved. Because there's more of this. How about cash welfare? There is still cash welfare in America. 6 percent of children in refugee families get it versus 4 percent of U.S.-born kids, they get it. So the bottom line here is that a greater proportion of refugee children get more benefits from the federal government than local, native-born poor kids. 

DOOCY: And we should point out, when you talk about these children, the refugee children, these are children whose families have been granted refugee status by the federal government.

VARNEY: That is correct.

DOOCY: These are not the illegal that we have talked about --

VARNEY: No, it’s not, this is a separate case entirely. But look at the numbers that are involved. This Migration Policy Institute, they did the study. 941,000 refugee children counted between 2009 and 2013. That's an extraordinary number. Can we afford this?

KILMEADE: We got $19 trillion in debt. The answer is no.

VARNEY: We want to be generous. Can we afford it? $19 trillion worth of debt and President Obama wants to bring in a lot more Syrian refugees. Tens of thousands more coming in.