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 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.

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.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

The Biden administration said Monday that it will allow many Venezuelans who are already in the country illegally to remain because of the humanitarian and economic crisis in the socialist South American nation that is an adversary of the U.S.

Carrying out a promise President Biden made on the campaign trail, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas granted Temporary Protected Status to an estimated 320,000 Venezuelans.

The Biden administration is aiming to process and release migrant families arriving at the border seeking asylum more quickly — within 72 hours — by converting some detention facilities, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

The objective is to turn them into processing centers where criminal background checks and full health screenings can be completed, before migrant parents and children are released with orders to appear in court.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Hundreds of migrant children still separated from their parents by the Trump administration may be allowed to reunite with their families in the United States — and some families may have the opportunity to stay, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Monday.

The White House is continuing to defend itself against criticism from the left and right for reopening Trump-era shelters used to house unaccompanied teenagers crossing the border from Mexico.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration was forced to make the "tough choice" of reopening the facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, due to the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border, which she explained meant taking responsibility for their care.

Shortages of medical supplies and ingredients for pharmaceuticals came into stark focus during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when hospital workers resorted to reusing masks and gloves to try to keep themselves safe from COVID-19.

More recently, automakers were forced to shut down plants because of a shortage of computer chips, putting workers on furlough.

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The Biden administration is taking first steps to reopen diplomacy with Iran. The European Union says it is willing to host a meeting of all the signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and the U.S. says it would attend. That is just the start of what could be a complicated job of reviving a deal that the Trump administration deserted. Joining us now to talk about this is NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen.

Hey, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Hi there, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hi. So, first of all, just tell us what happened today.

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Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

President Biden signed three executive orders on Tuesday that he said would lead to a more "fair, orderly, humane" immigration system, including one that would begin the difficult process of reuniting migrant children separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

Unwilling to admit defeat but with his time in office at its end, President Trump left the White House early Wednesday, skipping the Inauguration Day ceremony that generations of outgoing presidents have attended — a symbolic peaceful transfer of power that had been made all but impossible by his actions after losing the election to Joe Biden.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden has signed 15 executive actions, part of a flurry of steps he plans to take in the coming days to address his top policy priorities — and to roll back some of former President Donald Trump's initiatives.

White House officials had originally told reporters there would be 17 actions signed, focused on addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the economy, racial justice and climate change.

A clash has broken out between factions at the White House over whether to extend an expiring freeze on various temporary work visas, including those used by foreign high-tech workers and by au pairs, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

The measure, which President Trump signed earlier in 2020, is due to expire at the end of the year, on Thursday.

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Lloyd Austin, the retired U.S. Army four-star general, as his pick for secretary of defense in his incoming administration, two sources familiar with the decision confirmed to NPR.

Austin joins a growing and diverse list of nominees for Biden's cabinet, which the president-elect has said he wants to reflect the diversity of America. If confirmed, Austin would be the first African American to lead the department.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former congressman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a source familiar with transition discussions who is not authorized to speak on the record.

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Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The United States has had 77 Treasury secretaries in the last 231 years. So far, they've all been men.

That's about to change.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department, a source close to the transition told NPR on Monday

If confirmed, Yellen would play a leading role in shaping economic policy as the United States continues to dig its way out of the deep hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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President Trump has been unusually silent since he lost the election. It's been more than a week since he's spoken publicly.

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Updated at 4 a.m. ET

The 2020 presidential election remained up in the air early Wednesday after tight races, strong turnout and record amounts of mail-in voting left millions of legitimate votes still to be counted, and races in six key states too close to call.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden urged patience until "every vote is counted," but President Trump railed against the extra time required to count the ballots, falsely accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election from him.

Vice President Pence has tested negative for the coronavirus, a spokesman says, after President Trump announced his own positive test.

Devin O'Malley, the vice president's spokesman, told NPR that Pence is tested every day.

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The Trump administration's decision to entrust $765 million of taxpayer money to Eastman Kodak raised several questions about the financial vetting of the struggling camera company even before the deal was put on hold amid an investigation into potential insider trading.

President Trump tapped into the emotions and nostalgia of a bygone era, charging that Kodak would lead U.S. efforts to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States.

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And let's pick up on the question of quite how the White House and the sitting president are going to react to today's big news of the pick of Kamala Harris. I want to bring in NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.

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