How Do Restraining Orders Affect Immigration Status?
With many immigration applications—and as a requirement to remain in the country no matter how you may be here—good moral character is a requirement to getting into, or remaining in the country. Many people are aware that drug crimes, sex crimes, murder, or theft, can lead to an application for a green card or visa to be denied, or even lead to deportation. But what about a restraining order?
What Are Restraining Orders?
A restraining order is a temporary order that is issued by a judge, requiring that someone remain apart from the other person who obtains the injunction. Injunctions are normally issued in cases of domestic violence, when one partner fears that he or she is at risk of violence by the other partner.
What makes domestic violence injunctions difficult for those in the immigration system is that applicants can get an injunction placed without a hearing, at least for a temporary period of time, before a full hearing can be had. That means that someone could be at risk for deportation just because the injunction is filed even though that person has not had the opportunity to defend him or herself, and even if the injunction eventually fails and is lifted.
Can You be Deported?
As a general rule, the simple initial filing for a protective order or injunction is, by itself, not a deportable offense. Regardless, if you are ever served with an application for an injunction, you should act quickly to defend yourself; doing nothing will often lead to the temporary injunction becoming permanent.
Whether you can be deported if you contest the injunction, and lose, is largely an individual, factual scenario. If the injunction (he restraining order) is granted because you have committed violence against a spouse, you could be at risk for deportation, although deportation just for restraining orders are not common.
Violating a Restraining Order
If an injunction is granted, even if it is not deportable (that is, even if the restraining order did not relate to allegations of actual violence), violating the injunction could end up in immigration instituting deportation proceedings.
Remember that although the injunction for domestic violence, or for threats against a partner, are civil in nature, any criminal conviction for anything related to domestic violence—even stalking, which involves no direct violence—can result in someone being deported.
Other Adverse Consequences
Additionally, keep in mind that just because something like having a restraining order granted and put in place against you may not lead to deportation, it could still affect any applications that you have to come into or remain in the country that require showings of good moral character.
Green card or Visa applicants could find themselves with problems getting their applications approved if a restraining order is put in place against them.
If you are in legal trouble, make sure you understand how that trouble may affect your immigration status, or immigration applications. Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group to help you with your immigration questions and problems.