IMMIGRATION & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
One of the most significant fears many battered immigrant women face is related to their immigration status. The person who abuses may attempt to control the partner by threatening deportation or withdrawal of sponsorship. Some battered immigrant women may be reluctant to discuss immigration status because they fear deportation for themselves, their children, or their batterer.
If a battered immigrant woman is deported, she may lose custody of her children, may not be allowed to enter the country to see her children, may return to poverty, famine, or political persecution, and may no longer be able to financially assist her family in her home country. She may be deported to a country whose laws do not protect her from domestic violence. She may be ostracized by friends and family members because she got a divorce or sought a protection order against her abuser.
Many battered immigrant women who have legal immigration status do not know that their batterer cannot take that status away. You should know that if an immigrant woman is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or has a valid visa, she cannot be deported unless she entered the United States on fraudulent documents, violated conditions of her visa, or has been convicted of certain crimes. If she does not have legal status, she should know that law enforcement and domestic violence agencies do not ask about immigration status.