Franco Ordoñez | WAMC

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.

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.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Neera Tanden has withdrawn her name as President Biden's nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget. Her nomination has been controversial, mostly because of disparaging comments she's made in the past about Republican lawmakers. White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez is with us now for more.

Hi, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What did the White House and Tanden say this evening?

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.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

President Biden on Friday sought to turn the page on former President Donald Trump's "America First" ethos, declaring "America is back" and vowing to rebuild trust with European allies by working on challenges like arms control, COVID-19 and climate change.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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.

Updated on Thursday at 11:45 a.m. ET

President Biden said he spoke for "two straight hours" with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday night — an opening conversation that provided insight about how the new administration plans to tackle the vast economic and security challenges posed by Beijing.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

President Biden said on Thursday that he will work with allies and partners to sanction Myanmar, end the war in Yemen, admit more refugees, and protect the rights of LGBTQ people around the world, signaling his plans to chart a course away from former President Donald Trump's "America First" approach to foreign policy.

NOEL KING, HOST:

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.

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.

When the president speaks to a world leader, the contents of the call are typically released in a short statement known as a readout. But when President Biden spoke Tuesday with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the White House instead released a video.

Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the video — the first one of its kind for the team — reflects the importance of the White House's support for NATO and for revitalizing trans-Atlantic relationships, which were frayed during the Trump years.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to send a sweeping immigration proposal to Congress after he is sworn into office on Wednesday, a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

President Trump plans to leave the White House and Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day with a departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, a senior administration official said on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement is not yet official.

Trump — who has not congratulated President-elect Joe Biden for winning the election or conceded that his loss was legitimate — is the first president in modern history to skip the swearing-in of his successor.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday

President Trump went to Texas on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to show off one of his signature election promises — the border wall — as Democratic lawmakers appear ready to move forward with impeaching him for a second time.

He has about a week left in office, but angry lawmakers are calling on him to resign after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as a joint session of Congress met inside to certify the results of the election.

President Trump is extending a freeze on new temporary work visas for tech and other highly skilled workers.

The extension means hundreds of thousands of foreigners looking to work in the United States will continue to have to wait until at least the end of March before having another chance to attain coveted visas to enter the country.

It is also another example of how the Trump administration is trying to box President-elect Joe Biden in on challenging policy matters.

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 Dec. 15 at 8:45 p.m.

Immigration activists are gearing up for a fight to push President-elect Joe Biden to do more to counter the measures taken by President Trump that made life more uncomfortable for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

But they may find they get less than they hope for from the Biden administration, which finds itself having to balance the demands of activists with the inherent limits on executive powers.

As President-elect Joe Biden crafts his Cabinet and White House team of advisers, he has pledged to make it the most diverse team in history. But in his picks so far, there is one thing that most of his team will have in common: service in the Obama administration.

Loading...

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Denis McDonough to run Veterans Affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

McDonough is a longtime aide of former President Barack Obama and served as his chief of staff from 2013 to 2017.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a source familiar with the transition discussions said Tuesday. The source spoke on condition of anonymity about private conversations.

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.

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Obama aide Brian Deese as director of the National Economic Council, his top economic adviser at the White House.

Deese helped former President Barack Obama rescue the auto industry during the 2009 economic crisis and played a key role in negotiating the Paris climate accords.

But the pick raised the ire of some progressive groups even before it was made official Thursday because of Deese's work for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday named seven women to key communications roles in his incoming White House. His transition team says it's the first time in history that the positions will be filled entirely by women.

President Trump this week acknowledged that the transition for President-elect Joe Biden to take office is going ahead. But on Thursday, he made clear he's in no mood to concede the election, even after the Electoral College formally votes this month.

"It's going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud," Trump said, without evidence, complaining that the U.S. election was "like a Third World country."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Pages