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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

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The global future is looking dark and stormy

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

A new 20-year-forecast for the world: increasingly fragmented and turbulent.

The big picture: A major report put out this week by the National Intelligence Council reflects a present rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. How the next two decades will unfold depends largely on whether new technologies will ultimately unite us — or continue to divide us.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rep. Gaetz declares he's "not going anywhere" amid sex trafficking probe

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) doubled down Friday night, saying he's not "going anywhere," and vowing, "I have not yet begun to fight," amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations.

What he's saying: “I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” Gaetz, who denies the allegations, said during a Women for America First event at the Trump National Doral Miami resort.