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Photo: Guillermo Arias / AFP via Getty Images

The White House is working with lawmakers on a new immigration package that would end the practice of "catch and release," make it easier to deport immigrant children from countries outside of Mexico and Canada, and toughen screening for asylum applicants, according to a background briefing with senior administration officials.

Why it matters: The officials did not say whether the package would include protections for DACA recipients, which has come into question following the president's weekend tweets pronouncing DACA "dead."

  • DACA: One senior official slammed the ”Schumer-Collins“ bill — referring to the amendment introduced during the DACA debates by Sens. Mike Rounds and Angus King, which originally instructed ICE to prioritize the removal of undocumented immigrants who come to the U.S. after June, 2018. The official said the bill would only attract more undocumented immigrants and smugglers.
  • Asylum seekers: Another official said the administration thinks it's "reasonable" to consider whether an immigrant passed through a country where they could have sought asylum before they got here.
  • The immigration "caravan:" "We have a very large number of people from Central America who want to come here illegally… the focus has to be on closing the loopholes."
  • Gang members: One official said that there should be a way to block potential immigrants who have records of drunk driving or child abuse or who are known to be members of a gang.

Go deeper

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at CPAC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.