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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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-elect Joe Biden announced a big slate of key players for his National Security Council, the White House team that will advise him on foreign policy and security issues when he takes office on Jan. 20.

Meanwhile, more members of the current NSC resigned, citing the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

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.

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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.

Even as President Trump fluctuates between false claims he really won the 2020 election and that it was stolen from him, he is also seriously considering launching a bid for 2024, two campaign sources and a third source with close ties to Trump's circle tell NPR.

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."

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to name a second high-level climate position in the White House, a counterpart to his diplomatic climate envoy John Kerry, to ramp up action dramatically at home.

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.

In the two weeks since it became clear that President Trump lost the election to Joe Biden — a period bookended by befuddling press conferences from his longtime lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — the president has made it clear that he will spend his remaining days in the White House in the same way he spent much of his term in office: fighting.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

In the hours before President Trump began to realize that he may not get to "Make America Great Again, Again," the former reality television star who stunned the world in 2016 with his improbable leap to the White House allowed for a moment of candor.

"You know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it's not," Trump told reporters on Election Day, his voice hoarse from an unforgiving three-week marathon of rallies.

Now, the world is seeing just how difficult it is for a man who built his brand on winning to lose.

Aides to President Trump have been counseling him this week that his legal options to try to contest the election are limited, but Trump wants to fight it out, a former campaign adviser who remains in touch with key players told NPR.

"It's dawning on him," the former adviser said, speaking on condition of anonymity to comment on private conversations. "He never thought he could lose ... and those of us who are in Trump World, we actually never believed he could lose."

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