Franco Ordoñez | KGOU
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Franco Ordoñez

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.

Ordoñez has received several state and national awards for his work, including the Casey Medal, the Gerald Loeb Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists, and is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Georgia.

Updated April 12, 2021 at 3:35 PM ET

President Biden, joined by top foreign and domestic policy advisers, met virtually with 19 CEOs Monday, as his administration tries to deal with a critical supply crunch that is slowing U.S. automobile manufacturing and threatens other sectors, including national security, according to experts.

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The number of migrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border in March was the most in at least 15 years, as agents for U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended nearly 172,000 people, according to Biden administration officials.

This included nearly 19,000 children and teenagers traveling without a parent — double the levels from February and the most ever in a single month.

President Biden's family separation task force is scouring through thousands of unreviewed files to determine whether the Trump administration began separating families within the first six months of coming into office.

The task force uncovered 5,600 files from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement from Jan. 20, 2017, the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president, to July 2017. A Department of Homeland Security official acknowledged the task force has yet to reunite families but noted it remains committed to that goal.

Updated April 1, 2021 at 11:43 AM ET

President Biden's top advisers promise "long-needed systemic reforms" to address a backlog of more than 1 million asylum cases in the immigration court system, which often keeps people applying for asylum waiting years to resolve their cases. That could mean some big changes to how asylum cases are processed at the southern border.

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President Biden claimed Thursday in his first press conference since taking office that "nothing has changed" compared to earlier influxes of migrants and unaccompanied children at the border.

"It happens every single, solitary year," he said, pushing back on questions about whether his own policies contributed to the situation on the border.

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Former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says Trump officials warned the incoming Biden administration that dismantling the Trump administration's immigration policies would cause problems at the southern border.

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President Biden is sending some of his top officials to Mexico and Guatemala this week to discuss the growing numbers of U.S.-bound migrants from Central America, one of the biggest challenges facing the new administration.

Roberta Jacobson, a former ambassador to Mexico during the Obama administration who now serves on Biden's National Security Council, and Juan Gonzalez, the NSC's senior director for the region, will travel to Mexico, a senior administration official told reporters.

Hundreds of migrant children and teens traveling without their parents have been held in jail-like detention centers at the border for 10 days, and longer, a DHS document obtained by NPR shows.

Under law, minors are only allowed to spend 72 hours in the detention centers, which are run by Customs and Border Protection.

But as of Thursday, more than 500 of the young migrants have spent more than 240 hours in the border facilities, according to the DHS documents.

Spokespersons for CBP and DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Thursday.

Seeing the growing number of minors held in jail-like facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border, John Sanders can't help thinking of Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez.

The 16-year-old boy from Guatemala died in the care of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the last record-breaking detention of unaccompanied minors during the Trump administration, when Sanders led the agency. The former acting CBP commissioner spoke exclusively to NPR about that experience and his concerns about the current crisis.

Updated March 16, 2021 at 4:35 PM ET

The U.S. government had 4,276 unaccompanied migrant children in custody as of Sunday, according to a Department of Homeland Security document obtained by NPR. The children are spending an average of 117 hours in detention facilities, far longer than the 72 hours allowed by law.

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The Biden administration rescinded a 2018 agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services that encouraged child welfare officers to share sensitive personal information about potential sponsors for unaccompanied children with immigration enforcement agents.

A record number of migrant children and teenagers are being held in warehouse-like detention facilities run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection near the southern border, and new documents obtained by NPR show that the number of children arriving without their parents is growing exponentially faster than the Biden administration is able to transfer the children to family members and vetted sponsors.

Updated March 10, 2021 at 5:45 PM ET

The Biden administration is making a new push to address the causes of migration from Central America as it faces a surge at the southern border.

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