The move by Sessions is estimated to impact tens of thousands of people, though exact numbers for asylum seekers who fall under those particular social groups are not knowable because the categories are not tracked individually, said Gilman.
"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", Sessions' opinion reads.
"Today's decision by the Attorney General is yet another attempt to close our doors, " Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council.
In making his determination, he declared that a decision in a 2014 case before the Board of Immigration Appeals, which allowed victims of gender-based violence to claim US asylum, "was wrongly decided and should not have been issued as a precedential decision".More news: Facing off with Trump, Trudeau dons the cape of 'Captain Canada'
"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.
"The AG is sending a clear signal that he does not think these are legitimate asylum cases and that they should not even be considered", she said.
The decision is counterintuitive for the Trump administration, which is at the same time claiming that violence by the Central American MS-13 gang is one of the most pressing and risky issues of our time, but then not allowing victims of MS-13 violence to apply for asylum.
And immigration courts overall face a backlog of about 700,000 cases of all types.More news: After 'difficult' G7 summit, May warns against unilateral action on trade
"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.
He remanded the case of A-B- back to Judge Stuart Couch in Charlotte, North Carolina, for further proceedings. The board based its ruling partly on a 2014 precedent, known as the Matter of A-R-C-G, which Sessions also vacated Monday, saying it was "wrongly decided". In March, Sessions ended a requirement that asylum seekers get a full hearing before an immigration judge, making it easier for judges to close cases they deem frivolous or unlikely to succeed.
Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor, said a key point in Sessions' ruling was that applicants needed to demonstrate that "the government condoned the private actions or demonstrated an inability to protect the victim".More news: What Justin Trudeau said that made Donald Trump angry