The US attorney general has ruled that victims of domestic abuse and gang violence should no longer generally qualify for asylum in the US.
Jeff Sessions’ ruling overturns a 2016 decision which granted asylum to a woman from El Salvador who had been raped and abused by her husband.
America’s top law official said the “asylum statute is not a general hardship statute”.
Activists say the move will affect tens of thousands of asylum applications.
“Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum,” Sessions wrote in his ruling.
He added: “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, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.”