If I report my permanent resident spouse for domestic violence, will he get deported?

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Question:

My husband and I got into an argument that escalated very quickly and he hit me. I was very shocked and upset, but not seriously hurt. He is in the U.S. on a green card and I’m worried that if I take out a restraining order or file a police report, he will be deported. What will happen to him?

Answer:

The most important thing right now is to make sure that you and any other family members are safe from any further violence. You should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE. They can help you locate resources in your community such as shelter, counseling, and legal services. In addition, you may be able to petition for your own green card if do not already have permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. For more information on this, see “Green Card Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Who Is Eligible.”

Getting a protective or “restraining” order to prevent any future violence may also be a good idea. A permanent resident cannot be deported simply because a spouse files for a protective order against him or her. The decision about whether or not you want to press criminal charges against your spouse can be a difficult one, but it should not be dismissed simply because you are worried about immigration consequences as a result of contacting law enforcement.

A conviction for a domestic violence-related offense – even if only a misdemeanor – may render a noncitizen deportable. Domestic violence crimes include stalking, child abuse, neglect or abandonment, violation of a restraining order made against credible threats of violence, and repeated harassment or bodily injury. To learn more about this, please read “Crimes that Will Make an Immigrant Deportable.”

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