Speed Reads

migrant crisis

Blinken says Biden inherited an immigration system that was 'broken intentionally'

The Biden administration inherited "a totally broken" immigration system, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told 60 Minutes in an interview that aired Sunday night, and it's now working to repair it.

In March, more than 170,000 migrants were taken into U.S. custody — the highest number in two decades — and CBS's Norah O'Donnell asked Blinken if any of President Biden's policies are to blame.

"No," he responded. "What we're seeing is indeed a surge of people to the border. We've seen that in the past. But we inherited a totally broken system. Broken intentionally. And it takes time to fix it, and by the way, our message is very clear: 'Don't come. The border is not open. You won't get in.' But we have to understand what is motivating so many people to do this. And it is usually desperation."

O'Donnell pushed back, saying Biden has used executive authority to slow down deportations and allow more asylum seekers into the U.S. These aren't contributing factors, Blinken replied, because "we're focused when it comes to people coming to making sure that children, unaccompanied minors, are treated humanely and according to law."

Traffickers are telling migrants that "the border's open," Blinken continued, but "it's not." Children are the exception because "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."