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For Some Victims Of Domestic Violence, There Is Another Fear: Deportation

(CBS) – They already live in fear. Now, some domestic violence victims have another thing to be afraid of, besides their abuser: deportation.

CBS 2's Dana Kozlov explains how that's keeping some victims from getting help.

Cook County Family Court is often a place where domestic violence victims come to seek refuge -- and orders of protection.

But lawyers say for victims in the U.S. illegally that is changing.

"We used to be able to say, absolutely, there's no problem, ICE doesn't make any enforcement actions here at the courthouse. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer unqualified assurances anymore," says Ginger Devaney, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases.

There has been an increase in undocumented victims calling to ask if it's safe. At the same time, there has been a decrease in the number of those seeking help.

Advocates, like Devaney, believe it's the result of President Trump's deportation push.

One Jordanian woman says she stopped efforts to update her papers and to get a divorce. If she became a legal U.S. citizen, she says she wouldn't hesitate to change her domestic situation.

Akram Srour of Arab American Family Services says it's especially frustrating in her culture, where women are just now talking about abuse.

Attorneys say Chicago's status as a "Sanctuary City" does not prevent immigration officials from enforcing deportation orders. It just means city agencies can't turn over undocumented immigrants.

But advocates say victims of domestic violence can still come forward to seek help without fear their status will be reported to authorites.

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