The decision came hours after Sessions' latest criticism on the asylum system, which he and other administration officials consider rife with abuse.
"It is a decision that sends a very strong message that asylum law is not going to provide the protection that it has in the past", said Gilman.
They estimated that tens of thousands of asylum seekers would be shut out of the U.S. as a result. He said it will help reduce the growing backlog of 700,000 court cases, more than triple the number in 2009. "In my judgment, this is a correct interpretation of the law". But Sessions recently called into question whether such cases merited protection under U.S. asylum laws.
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Sessions declared that claims of domestic violence, or violence from criminal gangs that flourish across much of the region, do not meet the threshold for an asylum request at the United States border.
"The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes-such as domestic violence or gang violence-or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, can not itself establish an asylum claim", the ruling added. "It is nearly certain that women will be killed as a result of this decision that will return them to their abusers".
Michelle Brané, director of the Women's Refugee Commission's Migrant Rights and Justice program, said in a statement: "Women and children will die as a result of these policies".
Such a group can not be overly broad or diffuse, Sessions said, overruling a previous asylum decision which accepted married women who are victims of violent relationships as a persecuted group. However, as the United States' chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general can intercede in its decisions to shape law. "Turning our backs on victims of violence and deporting them to grave danger should not be the legacy sought by any administration". The cases can take years to resolve in backlogged immigration courts that Sessions oversees and applicants often are released on bond in the meantime.
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Sessions announced his decision this afternoon. Such criminal prosecutions mean separating parents from their children.
"This is a decision that could have an extremely negative on women who are seeking asylum, people who are victimized due to their gender", she said. Asylum-seekers must also demonstrate that their home government is unwilling or unable to protect them.
The decision could have wide-ranging impacts on immigrants seeking refuge in the United States from violence in their home countries.
The case is one of severalSessions has assigned to himself since becoming attorney general.
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