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In separate interviews for "Axios on HBO," two top immigration officials defended the Trump administration's so-called "remain in Mexico" plan.

  • Mark Morgan and Ken Cuccinelli told "Axios on HBO" that it's meant to ease bureaucratic burdens on the U.S. and prevent the "catch and release situation" where asylum-seekers would be released into the interior of the U.S.
  • Homeland Security claims Mexico will provide those affected by the plan "with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay."

The plan, formally titled the Migrant Protection Protocol, pushes for some migrants seeking entry to the U.S. from Mexico to be returned to Mexico while waiting for the completion of their immigration proceedings.

  • Immigration reformists argue the plan denies individuals their right to asylum.

What they're saying:

"With our broken immigration system, specifically the Flores Settlement agreement, which says [children] cannot be held more than 20 days, it's impossible for us to get through the full process in 20 days."
— Mark Morgan to "Axios on HBO"

Morgan further argued that provisions protecting children from prolonged detainment have encouraged smugglers to "grab a kid and that's your U.S. passport in the United States."

  • "You grab a kid, you're into this country. And so what that does is you're sending a message, right, that that loophole is being closed no more. If you grab a kid, it's no longer an automatic passport into the interior United States never to be heard from again."

Cuccinelli echoed Morgan's defense of the plan:

  • "The point was to be able to actually have a way to deal with this population that wasn't a catch and release situation. So we have achieved that."
  • "It's been a success in the sense that we've been able to keep families together. We have not released people into the interior of the United States, and that was a big part of the goal."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.