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Can You Be Deported for Domestic Violence?

Can You Be Deported for Domestic Violence?

When immigrants come to the United States, they are expected to abide by our state and federal laws. While not every criminal offense will result in deportation (removal proceedings), the conviction of certain crimes or the conviction of multiple minor offenses can lead to deportation.

As long as someone is a non-US citizen, they can be removed from the US. This means that lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) and immigrants holding visas can be deported if they violate US state or federal laws, one of them being domestic violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

The California Courts define domestic violence as ...“abuse or threats of abuse when the person being abused and the abuser are or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). It is also when the abused person and the abusive person are closely related by blood or by marriage.”

Under California’s domestic violence law, “abuse” is:

  • Intentionally hurting (physically) another;
  • Recklessly (physically) hurting another;
  • Sexually assaulting the victim (molestation, rape, etc.)
  • Making the person afraid that they are going to be seriously hurt;
  • Making the person afraid that someone else will be seriously hurt;
  • Threats to hurt someone;
  • Promises to hurt someone;
  • Disturbing another person’s peace;
  • Stalking, harassing, or threatening another person;
  • Hitting someone; and
  • Destroying someone else’s personal property.

The Immigration Nationality Act lists numerous offenses that can be a basis for deportability. Usually, deportable offenses include drug offenses, felonies, fraud crimes, theft-related crimes, and violent crimes.

Under INA Sec. 237 (8 U.S.C. 1227 (E) (I)), it reads: “Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment is deportable.”

The INA’s domestic violence law applies to a crime of violence committed against:

  • A current spouse;
  • A former spouse;
  • Someone the offender has a child in common;
  • Someone living with the offender;
  • Someone who has lived with the offender as a spouse; and
  • Anyone who is protected under domestic violence or family violence laws of any state or the United States (this includes the offender’s child).

The state and federal courts of the United States take acts of domestic violence very seriously, and when a non-US citizen commits domestic violence against their spouse, partner, former partner, or child, and they are found guilty in a court of law, it can trigger removal proceedings.

If you are facing domestic violence charges and you are a non-US citizen, we encourage you to contact our firm to meet with Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney, Nabiel C. Ahmed in a consultation.

Next: Responding to a Restraining Order in California

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