UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — The Trump administration announced that it will stop granting asylum to victims of gang violence and domestic abuse.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told immigration judges on June 11 that while crimes such as domestic violence and gang-related attacks are “vile and reprehensible,” they do not automatically qualify victims for asylum protection.

Sessions added, “The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes… or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.”

Instead, Sessions said that an asylum applicant must show that “her home government is unwilling or unable to protect her.”

Sessions said that the change would help weed out abuse of the immigration system and reduce the growing backlog of 700,000 court cases.

The decision was immediately condemned by activists and Democratic lawmakers.