The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit recently ruled that a permanent resident’s second conviction for domestic violence under the Illinois domestic battery statute constituted an “aggravated felony” and basis for removal proceedings against him.
In that case, the permanent resident subject to removal had been in the country and was a “Green card” holder for a long period of time. In his first tangle with the law, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge for holding a knife to his wife (the mother of his three children) during a domestic argument.
When he was again arrested for taking a similar action against his wife a year later, he was charged with a felony and sentenced to prison. The State Department then initiated a removal action and his attorney argued that his felony conviction did not constitute an “aggravated felony” that would support removal.
The case went all the way to the 7th Circuit, which held that the battery conviction necessarily involved bodily harm and was, therefore, a crime of violence and an “aggravated felony.”
This decision points out the dangers that a simple domestic dispute can present to a permanent resident who is in this country legally, and should provide caution to the wise.
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