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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Nicholas Kamma/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump issued a proclamation Friday morning suspending "for a limited period" any immigrant who crosses the U.S. southern border illegally — disqualifying them from asylum due to the new rule established by Homeland Security and the Justice Department.

Between the lines: The proclamation is specifically targeted at the caravan of Central Americans currently making its way through Mexico. Trump claims in the proclamation that the suspension is in order to "channel these aliens to ports of entry" so that they can enter "in an orderly and controlled manner." But this is likely to face serious legal challenges.

  • The Trump administration has claimed to use its legal discretion over who is eligible for asylum. But under U.S. law, any migrant who has been on American soil for under a year has the right to apply for asylum — regardless of whether they have entered legally or illegally.

Be smart: This will significantly increase the wait time for these people seeking refuge in the U.S. If they pass a credible fear test, asylum-seekers will either be held in detention centers — that are often near capacity — or released into the U.S. until their asylum case is completed. Only a quarter of all affirmative asylum applications were approved in the first three quarters of FY 2018, according to data from USCIS.

Details: The proclamation also instructs additional resources to be sent to the border, as there are already extremely long wait times for those seeking asylum at these ports of entry.

  • The suspension expires after 90 days. But within that time, the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the secretary of DHS can recommend that the president extend or renew the suspension.

Go deeper: How the U.S. asylum process works

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.