"Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-government actors will not qualify for asylum", Sessions wrote in the decision. The administrative appeals court is normally the highest authority in the issue, but the attorney general has the power to assign cases to himself and set precedents. "It's part of an overall pattern of gutting the refugee system, making it so that there is no way to seek asylum", she says.
Mr Sessions has said he has a "zero tolerance" stance toward illegal immigration on the country's border.
"We have not acted hastily, but carefully", he said in the statement.
"This is not just about domestic violence, or El Salvador, or gangs", she said.
Ms. A.B. fled to the United States and applied for asylum. The Board of Immigration Appeals reversed, finding the judge's ruling erroneous.
Sessions said he made the decision in order to try and reduce the backlog of immigration-related court cases.
"Today's decision is a direct assault on people seeking protection, especially families fleeing persecution in Central America".
Proposal to split California into 3 states will be on November ballot
It could easily be bankrolled by some of the state's most powerful forces, especially those aligned with Democratic leaders. Instead, this initiative would ask Congress to allow the state to divide itself into thirds.
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The American Immigration Council, a nonprofit immigrant advocacy group, said Sessions is "taking away a vital lifeline" for victims of severe domestic and gang violence.
Sessions received a warm welcome and reception from the judges present, who gave him multiple standing ovations at the beginning and end of his speech. The ruling could impact thousands of people. Joining me now is NPR's Joel Rose. The president and his administration have been sharply criticized in recent weeks for a new "zero tolerance" policy that has separated families upon arrival at the US-Mexico border. Bring us up to speed. And here, Sessions intervened in the case of a woman from El Salvador. She tried to sneak into the US, was caught and put into deportation proceedings, and then claimed asylum.
CORNISH: Now, Sessions decided against her. "Our asylum laws are meant to protect those who, because of characteristics like their race, religion, nationality, or political opinions can not find protection in their home countries", he said.
He took aim at one of five categories to qualify for asylum - persecution for membership in a social group - calling it "inherently ambiguous". Asylum-seekers must also demonstrate that their home government is unwilling or unable to protect them. So the abusers know that they'll get away with it.
Sessions says this action is necessary to maintain "the rule of law", which is a pretty clear indication that his idea of "the law" includes neither justice nor mercy. Attorney General Sessions: "their blood is on your hands".
CORNISH: And the reach of this ruling, how many people affected?
The Patriot Act of 2001 and Real ID Act of 2005-both overwhelmingly supported by Democrats-also drastically expanded bogus "terrorism bars" to asylum, resulting in thousands or tens of thousands of unjust asylum dismissals.
CORNISH: That's NPR's Joel Rose.