Domestic Violence Is A Crime That Will Get You Deported
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is set forth at Title 8 of the United States Code. Section 237 of that law contains the provisions governing the deportation of noncitizens. Committing certain crimes are grounds for automatic deportation and committing any crime may be found to be grounds for removal depending upon the particular circumstances. Crimes of domestic violence are specifically addressed by immigration laws. Any noncitizen who commits a crime of domestic violence is deportable. In addition to the provisions that address domestic violence, immigration laws include other domestic crimes that also result in deportation. If you’re a noncitizen and get convicted of a deportable domestic violence crime, it’s important to get legal assistance as quickly as possible to give yourself the best chance of successfully defending removal proceedings.
What Immigration Laws Say About Domestic Crimes
Under the INA, any noncitizen who is convicted after September 30, 1996, of any of the following domestic crimes may be deported.
- domestic violence
- child abuse
- child neglect
- child abandonment
- violation of a protective order issued to prevent domestic violence
Domestic violence means a crime of violence committed against a person that:
- has the use of physical force as an element
- is a felony where there is a substantial risk that physical force may be used in the commission of the crime
In addition, there needs to be a domestic relationship between the noncitizen and the victim that is any of the following:
- current or former spouse
- share a child in common
- have cohabitated like spouses – or similar relationship
- have protected status under any applicable domestic or family violence laws
What Happens To Immigrants Convicted Of Domestic Violence?
When a noncitizen is convicted of a domestic violence crime, the local law enforcement agency may notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the convicted person is an immigrant. ICE also has access to many law enforcement databases across the US and can mine those resources to identify noncitizens that may be deportable.
Often ICE is there to take custody of noncitizens as soon as they are released from the local law enforcement facility. ICE then detains the noncitizens and begins deportation proceedings.
Possible Defenses to Deportation After A Domestic Violence Conviction
There are some defenses to deportation that may be available if you’re facing removal after a domestic violence conviction whether you’re in the US legally or not. Each defense has specific qualifications that must be met to be eligible to claim the defense.
Many of the defenses are not available to immigrants who have committed aggravated felonies. Aggravated felonies are a category of crimes under immigration law that result in the harshest consequences and those who commit such offenses are rarely able to avoid deportation. A crime of violence is an aggravated felony if a noncitizen receives a sentence of 1 year or more.
- Cancellation of Removal – Cancellation of removal may be available to legal permanent residents (LPR) who have been LPR for 5 years, continuously lived in the US for 7 years, and have no aggravated felony convictions. A domestic violence conviction makes this defense unavailable for those without legal resident status.
- Asylum or Withholding of Removal – Asylum and withholding of removal are similar in that they both provide a way to remain in the US for persons who fear persecution if returned to their home country. Asylum is a more favorable status and is more easily obtained but is not available for those who have committed an aggravated felony. An aggravated felony is not an absolute bar to withholding of removal unless it carries a sentence of 5 or more years.
- Convention Against Torture (CAT) – CAT relief is available to those who can demonstrate a substantial likelihood that they would be tortured if returned to their home country. A deferral of removal under CAT is available despite any kind of criminal conviction. A CAT deferral of removal has few privileges and ICE can detain CAT recipients who are considered a threat to public safety.
- Voluntary Departure – Voluntary departure is not a way to stay in the US but is a way to avoid an order of removal and the limitations on returning to the US that go with it. However, voluntary departure is not available to those who have been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Given the limited options for staying in the US after a conviction for domestic violence, it is far better to get assistance from an immigration attorney when you are facing charges of domestic violence. Why? Because an attorney will know how the charges you’re facing will affect your immigration status and can work to see that you are not convicted of an offense that will subject you to deportation.
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The immigration laws are complex. One wrong move or bad decision can have life altering consequences. Call us today or get in touch with us through this website and let us help you. At the BestImmigrationLawyer.com, we have over 50 combined years of legal experience ready to help you deal with any immigration issue. BestImmigrationLawyer.com practices immigration law throughout the United States and its territories. We can help you wherever you are.