Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The Justice Department Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a federal judge's injunction on its sweeping asylum rule that would make it more difficult for immigrants from South America to claim asylum in the country.
The Trump administration had won a partial victory with a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing the new rule to take effect in states that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California did not cover -- New Mexico and Texas.
The administration's rule would require migrants who are crossing more than one border to reach the U.S. to apply for asylum in the first country they entered before applying in the U.S. Federal Judge Jon Tigar had blocked the rule from taking effect nationwide.
U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued Monday that the rule "serves important national purposes" in protecting the integrity of U.S. borders. He said the rule was needed in response to a "coordinated and ongoing diplomatic effort regarding the recent surge in migration."
"The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity," the Justice Department said in its court filing to the Supreme Court. "... Most importantly, it alleviates a crushing burden on the U.S. asylum system by prioritizing asylum seekers who most need asylum in the United States.
"The rule also screens out asylum claims that are less likely to be meritorious by denying asylum to aliens who refused to seek protection in third countries en route to the southern border. In turn, the rule deters aliens without a genuine need for asylum from making the arduous and potentially dangerous journey from Central America to the United States," it continued.
In pushing back against the rule, the American Civil Liberties Union has called it "patently unlawful."