If I Report My Permanent Resident Spouse for Domestic Violence, Will He Get Deported?

How to protect yourself when dealing with a complex legal situation.

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

NOTE: When looking for help as a victim of abuse, remember to consider how private your computer, Internet, and phone use are. Consider whether there's anything you can and should do to prevent someone else from learning that you’re doing research or seeking help. Some victims, for instance, might use the same computer or device as the abuser, or might have a phone plan that allows the abuser to see the calls they make and receive. Other kinds of technology, like home security cameras and GPS in phones and cars, can also allow for monitoring by the abuser.

The most important thing right now is to make sure that you and any other family members are safe from any further violence.

You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. This agency can help you locate resources in your community, such as shelter, counseling, and legal services.

In addition, you might be able to petition for your own green card if do not already have permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. For more on this, see Green Card Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA): Who Is Eligible.

Getting a protective or “restraining” order to prevent 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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