Abuse & Immigrants

Immigrants in the US have the right to live life free of abuse.

Due to the victim’s immigration status, abusive partners have additional ways to exert power and control over their victims.

If you are an immigrant or refugee in an abusive relationship, you may face unique issues that make it hard to reach out for help.

According to materials from Futures Without Violence and Casa de Esperanza, abusive partners use the following tactics to abuse immigrant victims:

Isolation: Preventing the victim from learning English or communicating with friends, family or others from their home countries.

Threats: Threatening deportation or withdrawal of petitions for legal status.

Intimidation: Destroying legal documents or papers needed in this country such as passports, resident cards, health insurance or driver’s licenses.

Manipulation Regarding Citizenship or Residency: Withdrawing or not filing papers for residency; lying by threatening that the victim will lose their citizenship or residency if they report the violence.

Economic Abuse: Getting the victim fired from their job or calling employers and falsely reporting that the victim is undocumented.

Children: Threatening to hurt children or take them away if the police are contacted.


A specialized immigration attorney should always be your first point of contact when it comes to immigration questions and concerns. WomensLaw provides lawyer referrals — please consult one of them before proceeding with any course of action.

Domestic violence is against the law regardless of your immigration status. Call the hotline for resources in your area that can help.

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