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A screenshot of Secretary of State Antony Blinken on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS

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.

  • 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:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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

Go deeper

Blinken tells diplomats State Department lacks answers for "Havana syndrome"

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 5. Photo: Saul Loeb/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter obtained by NBC News that the Department of State lacks answers for the cause of and treatments for unexplained health incidents that have affected U.S. diplomats working in multiple countries.

Why it matters: As many as 200 Americans who worked in overseas posts have said they experienced symptoms consistent with "Havana Syndrome," which has been used to describe mysterious brain injuries suffered by embassy staff.

38 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.

Retail stock traders power stunning comeback after deep selloff

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Stocks staged a Patrick Mahomes-esque comeback Monday, after plunging for the first few hours of trading.

Why it matters: The remarkable recovery suggests that retail traders who upended markets over the last year — most notably during the GameStop bonanza that occurred almost exactly a year ago — continue to be powerful influence in the markets.