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.

President Biden is asking Congress for billions in additional funding to help with natural disasters and aid for Afghan evacuees.

The White House wants $24 billion in additional funding to help recovery efforts for the California wildfires and several hurricanes, including Hurricane Ida. Biden administration officials are also asking for $6.4 billion to help with resettling vulnerable Afghans in the United States.

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DOVER, Del. — As white-gloved officers carried the flag-draped case of their fellow Marine from the C-17 military plane, the quiet of their gentle footsteps was broken by the soft cries of a loved one's anguish.

It was just one of several emotional moments during the heart-wrenching ritual as the remains of 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul were brought back home to their families.

President Biden lifted his right hand over his heart as, one-by-one, the remains of the fallen service members were delicately carried across the tarmac to awaiting vehicles.

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The scenes at the airport in Kabul today have been harrowing, as Afghans sought to flee their country fearing retribution from the Taliban. President Biden addressed the nation this afternoon and said that he is committed to helping evacuate Afghan allies to safety. And he brushed aside criticism that the U.S. waited too long to help, pinning the blame instead on the former president of Afghanistan, who fled over the weekend.

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President Biden said the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would be, quote, "responsible, deliberate and safe." He did not seem to anticipate the speed with which Afghan forces would collapse. Here's the president on July 8.

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Updated July 26, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET

President Biden is in a tough place on immigration.

On one side, he faces growing pressure from supporters who want his administration to stop turning away asylum-seekers — and to invest more political capital on creating a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

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In the run-up to meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit planned for next month, President Biden has shown he is willing to sanction Moscow for cyberattacks and election interference even as he proposes more "thoughtful dialogue."

"We want a stable, predictable relationship," Biden said last month when imposing the new sanctions.

But tensions in Washington over Russia policy have made it harder for Biden to reach his goal.

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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.

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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.

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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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President Biden will sign a series of executive actions today. They take aim at his predecessor Donald Trump's harshest immigration policies, like the one that separated children from their families at the border. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez is following this story. Good morning, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

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When President Trump left the White House for the final time as president this morning, he stopped by to say a few words to reporters standing on the South Lawn. Those reporters included NPR's Franco Ordoñez, who's on the line. Franco, good morning.

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.

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