Domestic Violence and Immigration Issues
Any allegation of domestic violence is serious. However, when the person making the accusation or the person being accused is not a United States Citizen, the consequences can be particular serious. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm understand how immigration law issues can impact domestic violence cases. Call today to talk with an attorney to find out what you need to do today to protect yourself against a false or exaggerated accusation.
We represent clients charged with domestic violence charges such as battery and assault throughout Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, and the surrounding counties including Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, FL.
Immigration Consequence of DV Charges
It is important to realize that making a false allegation of domestic violence is a form of controlling another person. False allegations are also an improper way to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody case.
When the person making the accusation is not a citizen of the United States, making a false allegation is also a way of avoiding immigration problems or obtaining a special Visa to stay in the country. Finally, if the person who is accused is not a U.S. Citizen, being convicted of domestic violence can lead to deportation which can destroy the family and cause economic hardship.
For individuals who are an asylee or refugee, the fact that an accusation of domestic violence has been alleged may impact their immigration status regardless of whether their sponsor or spouse cooperates with BCIS. In other words, the refugee’s husband may not withdraw his sponsorship for the refugee’s immigration so as to make the refugee ineligible for refugee status, services or public benefits.
Visa for Individuals Who Claim to Be Victms of Domestic Violence
In most cases, a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or a United States Citizen will file a visa petition on behalf of a spouse or child. In cases of actual domestic violence, the abuser could have control over whether the petition is filed. For this reason, Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to protect spouses and children of US citizens or LPRs who allegedly committed an act of domestic violence.
After the domestic violence accusation is made, the alleged victim can then self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency. VAWA allows certain immigrants who make an allegation of domestic violence to petition for immigration relief even though the alleged abuser does not know or assist with the petition.
The unintended consequence of this legislation is that women who are not victims of any domestic violence might become highly motivated to make a false allegation if it might mean gaining an advantage for certain immigration issues, especially when a marriage ends and divorce is contemplated.
Finding an Attorney for DV Cases with Immigration Consequences
It is important for any criminal defense attorney that represents individuals for domestic violence charges to understand how immigration law impacts domestic violence cases. Contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the particular facts of your case.
We represent both men and women who are facing a return hearing for a protective order (often called a “restraining order”) in Tampa or Plant City, Hillsborough County, Florida or the surrounding areas in Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, or Hernando County, FL. We also represent clients charged with domestic violence by strangulation and other felony charges.