Blinken defends child migrants policy: "It is the right thing to do"

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration's handling of the growing crisis at the southern border in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" airing Sunday.

Details: Blinken told CBS' Norah O'Donnell the "border is not open" and said the administration had "inherited a totally broken system." O'Donnell asked Blinken whether President Biden's policies, such as using his executive authority to curb deportations, had contributed to the marked increase in migrant arrivals.

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  • Blinken replied the focus was to ensure "unaccompanied minors are treated humanely and according to the law." The exchange continued:

O'DONNELL: "Is it problematic to tell migrants, 'Well, no you can't come here,' and then at the same time create a different situation on the ground that does allow them to come?

BLINKEN: "But the point is that they're not. One of the challenges that we've had is that traffickers and others are trying to tell them that 'the border's open.' It's not.

O'DONNELL: "But children are being allowed in, and then they're being..."

BLINKEN: "Children are the one exception, because we will not ... it is the right thing to do. We are not going to abide the notion that children are kept in a precarious, dangerous situation. That is unacceptable."

Of note: In the wide-ranging interview, Blinken also spoke of threats posed by China's government. During the two-hour phone call with President Xi Jinping in February, Biden raised concerns about "actions that China has taken," including "in the economic area" and intellectual property theft, according to Blinken.

  • He noted that China has been "acting more repressively at home and more aggressively abroad" over the past several years, but said it's "profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States" to head toward a military confrontation.

"Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order, that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we're going to stand up and-- and defend it."

For the record: Blinken also spoke of his visit to Ukraine this Wednesday and Thursday and concerns about Russia:

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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