San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had previously issued a nationwide injunction blocking the rule, which requires most immigrants who want asylum to first seek safe haven in a third country they had traveled through on their way to the United States.
But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed it to only border states within its jurisdiction, California and Arizona, and sent the question back to Tigar. He ruled it should apply across the entire border, pending a trial on the underlying legality of the Trump administration rule.
In August another U.S. court blocked a Trump initiative to curtail asylum claims, ruling that the government could not reject migrants who had crossed the border illegally.
Trump has also been repeatedly blocked on attempts to cut off federal funding to cities and states that decline to cooperate fully with U.S. immigration officers, and he was able to enact a partial ban on visitors from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries only after multiple court setbacks.
Opponents of Trump's immigration policy praised the judge's ruling, saying that previously asylum-seekers could be arbitrarily barred, based on where they happened to cross the border.
"Sadly, while this ruling removes a major hurdle, far too many obstacles remain, as this administration's war on asylum-seekers appears to know no bounds," Melissa Crow, an attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement.
The White House called the ruling by the U.S. district judge in California a "gift to human smugglers and traffickers and undermines the rule of law."