Previously, I touched on how domestic violence offenses work in Michigan, because so many people in my experience do not fully understand it.  I defined the conviction for domestic violence and gave some examples. This post will explain how a conviction can affect immigration status, whether a person is undocumented or a permanent resident.

First, if a person is a permanent resident of the United States, he or she can still lose that status if they commit certain crimes.  Domestic violence is one of those crimes.  Once a person pleads guilty or is found guilty of domestic violence, it is possible that immigration will attempt to deport that person.  

However, the law also says that because Michigan’s standard for domestic violence is so low, that most cases of basic domestic violence in Michigan do not make someone deportable.  As I explained before, someone can be guilty of domestic violence in Michigan if he or she shoves his or her partner out of their way so that he or she can get out the door, or if he or she knocks off of his or her partner’s hat.  This is what I mean by a “low standard.”  These kinds of actions certainly can make a person guilty of domestic violence in Michigan, but they would not be deportable for a conviction like this. 

For someone to be deportable, the domestic violence must truly be “violent.”  This means that the offender must truly have used significant violence in hurting his or her partner before they are truly “deportable.”  Federal law specifically requires for a person to be deportable, his or her crime of domestic violence must be “a crime of violence.”  For example, if an act of domestic violence leaves serious injuries or marks, or if a person used some kind of object to hurt his or her partner, in such cases an individual could indeed be deportable under federal law for committing a “crime of violence.”

However, many times immigration will not examine the true circumstances of a domestic violence conviction before attempting to put someone in immigration court for deportation.  Immigration will simply demand that the person begin the process of immigration court, and force the person to defend his or her case against the possibility of deportation, and to explain the nature of his or her domestic violence conviction in immigration court.  This process is very difficult and dangerous, so if you or anyone you know has been accused of domestic violence and is not a United States Citizen, he or she should talk to a lawyer immediately to get professional help.  

Thanks for reading!