Maybe you know someone who is (or who has been) a victim of domestic violence. The person could be your mother, grandmother, friend, cousin or even your father. Or maybe you yourself are a victim of domestic violence. The reasons why people stay in such situations are often multilayered and complex. They can also be practical. After all, an illegal immigrant who is being abused may fear deportation if he or she leaves. Who knows what extents the abuser may go to?
Fear of deportation
Humans make difficult choices every day, and someone who is being abused may choose life in the United States every day over being deported to another country. The fear of deportation may stem from several things. First, there is the fear that reporting the abuse to police gets an illegal immigrant (and his or her family) on authorities' radar when they were not previously. Second, there could be the fear that the abuser will find a way to report the victim's immigration status to authorities if he or she ever leaves. In fact, it could be one of the things the abuser holds over your head or your loved one's head.
Fear of arrest
Being afraid of arrest is another reason why immigration status keeps domestic violence victims quiet. Leaving someone and/or inviting law enforcement into your life opens up a lot of scrutiny. Officials may find out about an arrest a few years ago and a court hearing you never showed up for. Likewise, you may worry that you have not found all of the drugs your uncle hid when he lived with you last year, and an officer could uncover them. Many immigrants with criminal records have good reason to fear deportation.
Fear of hurting family
If one person in a family is an illegal immigrant, odds are good that at least a few other people in the family are, too. A parent may not want to risk his or her parents' or children's futures in the United States by speaking up about domestic violence.
Of all of the reasons that domestic violence victims stay quiet, immigration fears are perhaps the most practical. For that reason, they are perhaps the saddest too. One possible way out is to get in touch with an attorney who specializes in immigration and criminal matters. This person might be able to lay out an actionable and realistic plan for changing your situation, whatever it is, or guide you to community resources.