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The attorney general did not reveal the specifics of the changes to the law.

Later Monday evening, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna told The Associated Press that his office was preparing to look into immigrants who were ordered deported, but later may have cheated the system by obtaining green cards and becoming citizens using fake identities.

"It will help you to rule more consistently and fairly", Sessions said, The Hill reported. "Today we are deeply disappointed that our country will no longer offer legal protection to women seeking refuge from awful forms of domestic violence from which their home countries are unable or unwilling to protect them".

That disqualifies most victims of "personal crimes", the Justice Department said in an accompanying statement that specifically mentions domestic violence. The attorney general functions as a one-person Supreme Court in the system, in addition to hiring and evaluating the lower court judges themselves.

"He is also providing further evidence of the Trump administration's anti-immigrant agenda, which separates families, creates fear in communities, and punishes vulnerable people who are fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries", he added.

"We all know that many of those crossing our border illegally are leaving hard, even unsafe situations", Sessions said.

In a speech to immigration judges in Virginia, Sessions revealed he will be making a decision Monday to '"restore the strong principles of asylum" and immigration law.

Fifteen former immigration judges signed a letter calling Mr Sessions' decision "an affront to the rule of law". The woman, who fled her country four years ago after enduring more than a decade of domestic violence, has been living in the Carolinas and requested asylum. "This is not just about domestic violence", said Musalo.

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report detailing the harsh conditions women and children have faced in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody along the US-Mexico border.

An immigration judge first rejected her claim, saying she wasn't credible, she wasn't part of a recognized class of persecuted people, and even if she was, her husband's violence toward her had nothing to do with that. So she did, traveling to the United States in June 2014 and applying for asylum.

In December 2016, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that A-B qualified for asylum. But then Sessions intervened.

"We've spoken with Ms. A.B. herself, and she's incredibly fearful as you can imagine", Bookey said.

An administration official said last month that the backlog of asylum cases topped 300,000, almost half the total backlog. Cracking down on illegal immigration and tightening legal immigration were major themes of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

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Immigration judges in the USA are required to rule on cases according to the attorney general's interpretation.

"By declaring that the lack of policing of domestic and gang violence in other countries can not be the sole basis for asylum in the U.S., Sessions is instituting a policy that will block thousands of people from seeking refuge in America". Here's Sessions speaking this morning at a conference of immigration judges.