FILE - Mexican officials and U.S. Border Patrol officers return a group of migrants to the Mexico side of the border as Mexican immigration officials check the list, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, July 25, 2019.
FILE - Mexican officials and U.S. Border Patrol officers return a group of migrants to the Mexico side of the border as Mexican immigration officials check the list, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, July 25, 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court has put on hold a ruling that blocked a Trump administration policy that would prevent migrants from seeking asylum along the entire southwest border. 

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its stay Tuesday on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar. As a result, the administration's asylum policy is blocked in the border states of California and Arizona but not in New Mexico and Texas. That's because the appeals court previously limited an injunction issued by Tigar in July to states within the 9th Circuit; those states include California and Arizona.  

The Trump administration in July issued rules preventing most migrants who pass through another country before reaching the United States from seeking asylum. 

Groups that assist asylum seekers sued, arguing the policy was barred by federal law establishing how people can seek asylum. 

The rules target tens of thousands of Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty who cross Mexico each month to seek asylum and would affect asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and South America who arrive regularly at the southern border. 

The shift reversed decades of U.S. policy in what Trump administration officials said was an attempt to close the gap between an initial asylum screening that most people pass and a final decision on asylum that most people do not win. 

The appeals court asked attorneys for the nonprofit groups and the federal government to file motions next week. The court will then determine whether a stay should remain in effect.