A federal judge on Wednesday let stand a new Trump administration rule requiring most asylum seekers to ask for protection in another country before reaching the U.S.-Mexico border.

"It's in the greater public interest to allow the administration to carry out its immigration policy," U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington, D.C., said from the bench.

Two immigrant rights groups — the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition and RAICES, or Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services — had sued to try to block the new rule, arguing it would strip asylum eligibility from migrants fleeing dangerous situations.

But Kelly ruled that the administration's interest outweighs the damages that might be experienced by the organizations helping migrants. And he expressed "strong doubts" that plaintiffs can show the government overstepped its authority by issuing the rule.

Another federal court in California is hearing a separate challenge to the new rule. A hearing will be held in that case Wednesday.

The Trump administration has been taking steps to slow the flow of migrants, mostly from Central America, across the Southern border.

On Monday, the administration announced another rule change to expand the number of undocumented immigrants who can be put into fast-track deportation proceedings. Immigrant advocates also plan to challenge that policy in court.

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