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I have restraining orders against me from the family court, would that affect my immigration status?

Clifton Park, NY |

I have restraining orders against me from the family court which are good for 1 year. I am on green card right now and would apply for citizenship next year. So my question is that can there be a problem obtaining citizenship? And also for how long does that stay in your background history?

I was not arrested for violence. There is no police report or medical report. I never violated the protection. I got my green card through family immigration (my aunt sponsored my father) and my spouse here in the US was on a R1 visa.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

I changed the category to immigration for you as it seemed more suited to your question. What was the result in family court that led to the order of protection?

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13 comments

Asker

Posted

It was that I let her take the restraining orders, and the court let her do that without the finding of wrong doing. Also I have traveled outside the country after the orders were issued and on my way back the immigration people just confirm that she was not in the same plane.

Richard C. Southard

Richard C. Southard

Posted

well if that was the case there is no record of any conviction since there was none. There will be a record of the order of protection and you will likely have to explain it to immigration.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, and for how long would the record of order of protection remain in my background/history?

Richard C. Southard

Richard C. Southard

Posted

there will always be a record of it having existed but it won't show anymore once its expired.

Richard C. Southard

Richard C. Southard

Posted

the worst thing you could do is not disclose it if you are ever asked about it

Asker

Posted

these protection orders expire in sept 2012 and i complete my 5 years on green card in may 2013...i came to US on family immigration (my aunt sponsored my dad and it covered me too); so do you there still can be a problem getting citizen? Do I need a lawyer?

Asker

Posted

from it wont show after expiration do you mean that the immigration people at the airport wont ask me questions about it?

Asker

Posted

also my ex wife is illegal in this country, she was denied asylum before getting married to me...and she married me to play her tricks and apply for immigration under VAWA...so if she applies for VAWA does that affect me in anyway?

Richard C. Southard

Richard C. Southard

Posted

They shouldn't see it if it's no longer active but its certainly possible. Lawyers are trained to handle these matters. Any crime/instance of violence is a red flag and can cause problems. It doesnt mean that if handled correctly, they can't be overcome. I have immigration attorneys on premises, if you need a referral when you are ready.

Richard C. Southard

Richard C. Southard

Posted

well immigration will certainly see the allegations against you so yes it affects you somewhat.

Asker

Posted

would it still haunt me if i become a citizen?

Richard C. Southard

Richard C. Southard

Posted

Unless similar allegations arose in the future, after your immigration issues are settled, I don't think so.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Richard! you have provided me with lots of knowledge!

Posted

If the underlying charge is family violence you have problems. Best to consult with an immigration attorney who understands the overlap between criminal law and immigration law. This could be a removable offense.

If you apply for naturalization (citizenship) this will certainly come up. You need to consult with an attorney.

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Asker

Posted

are restraining orders considered a criminal offense? I let me ex take restraining orders in the court without the finding of wrong doing.

Posted

More information is needed. Have you been arrested for domestic battery or violence? Have you violated the order of protection? It may be a situation that can result in deportation proceedings without further information, but this remains unclear. If you have not been charged with a crime, then you need to stay away from both your wife/subject and the home. Otherwise, you can be charged with a crime.

If you are divorced before you naturalize, then you must wait five years from the date that you were granted conditional/permanent resident status to apply for naturalization.

I strongly recommend an appointment or teleconference with a competent and experienced immigration attorney.

This is general information, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

No, I was not arrested for violence. I never violated the protection. I got my green card through family immigration (my aunt sponsored my father) and my spouse here in the US was on a R1 visa.

Posted

Under federal law any "conviction" (i.e., a plea of gullty or a finding of guilty) for a crime of "violence" committed by a non-citizen subjects the perpretator to both prosecution for the criminal offense and to potential loss of other rights. This would include being subject to deportation for non-citizen immigrants (with right to protest, of course) and potential loss of right to convert "green card" status to citizenship status for those holding the card.

Under federal and most state law a criminal conviction is a permanent record and cannot be expunged. It might be possible to remove a conviction from a "public" record under the laws of a particular state but generally only under a showing of excetptional circumstances.

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Posted

As my colleagues have said, their are many "unknowns" in your scenario. You need to consult with an immigration attorney who can review all the documentation in your case. That being said, you have two different issues.

First, and most important, is the order of protection a concern with regards to keeping your LPR status? This depends on whether ICE considers you to have been convicted of a crime that supports a charge of deportability. Again, you need an immigration attorney to review the court records.

Second, will that order of protection have any effect on your eligibility for naturalization? It may. There are issues involved in eligibilty for naturalization regarding good moral character. Orders of protection often com einto play and are considered by USCIS in determining good moral character. I have had past clients who experienced problems with applying for naturalization where they had an order of protection that was in effect during the time period that USCIS required them to dmeonstrate that they had good moral character. Again, you need to consult an immigration atttorney who can examine all the doccumentation and analyze the facts of your particular case.

The existence of the order of protection will always "stay in your background history". The question is who has access to it. With an immigration matter it wil always show up in your security and background check. It is a matter of whether it is something that can be "used against you" when USCIS considers your application.

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