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?

Safety and Privacy Considerations for Victims

Be sure to consider the privacy of your computer, smartphone, or tablet when seeking help online or over the phone. Some victims might use the same device, network, or phone plan as the abuser, allowing the abuser to see the victim's search or call history or otherwise track their activity. Many smart devices contain cameras or GPS tracking that can be used to locate and monitor your whereabouts. An abuser can even slip a small tracking device in your car, bag, pocket, or other belongings without your knowledge. If you're concerned about your privacy or safety, several organizations provide assistance and resources, including National Domestic Violence Hotline and RAINN. You can also check out our Resources for Victims of Crime.

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 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.

Asking a judge to issue a protective or "restraining" order to prevent future violence could also be a good idea. Permanent residents cannot be deported simply because a spouse files for a protective order against them. 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—could make 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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