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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

May 2, 2021 - World

Blinken raises "serious" concern over removal of top El Salvador judges

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 27. Photo: Leah Millis/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with El Salvador President Nayib Bukele via phone Sunday to express "serious" concern over a recent vote to remove all magistrates of the country's constitutional chamber, State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed in a statement.

Why it matters: El Salvador’s legislature voted 64-19 on Saturday to remove five magistrates in the country's highest court, AP reports. The magistrates "had angered Bukele by ruling against some of his tougher measures during the pandemic," per AP.

Apr 30, 2021 - World

Scoop: Biden won't reverse Trump's Western Sahara move, U.S. tells Morocco

A Moroccan soldier on a hilltop in Western Sahara. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken told Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in a phone call on Friday that the Biden administration would not reverse President Trump's recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara, at least for the time being, two sources familiar with the call told me. 

Why it matters: Trump's recognition of the Western Sahara as part of Morocco reversed decades of U.S. policy regarding the disputed territory, and was part of a broader deal that included the renewal of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel.

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.