An Immigration Psychological Evaluation is intended to assist the court to determine an individual's lawful status in the U.S. An immigration evaluation begins with a discussion with the attorney to gather pertinent information about the case and its specific legal issues. A psychological evaluation adds tremendous value to an immigration case and can be effectively used by your attorney to support your case and move forward with your immigration proceedings.
The immigration evaluation itself includes in-depth interviews that are usually spread over 2 to 3 meetings. During the assessment process, the Psychologist will ask questions about yourself and your immigration case. The topics will include, but are not limited to 1) your current immigration predicament; 2) your personal, marital and family history; 3) your work history; and 4) any medical and psychiatric history that are relevant to the case. In addition to meeting and speaking with you, in some situations, it is important and necessary for us to speak with other people who may have pertinent information for your evaluation. A final report is then prepared and sent to your attorney.
What Type of Immigration Cases Benefit From A Psychological Evaluation?
Psychological Immigration Evaluations and reports are used in four major areas of immigration proceedings:
Applicants seeking political asylum have often been exposed to extreme deprivation, severe abuse, persacution, or even torture in their home country. Frequently, the mistreatment is associated with a political, religious, ethnic, or sexual orientation persecution.
The immigration evaluation in asylum cases is intended to collect information about this mistreatment and to examine the psychological impact that these circumstances have had on the immigrant. It's common for the individual to develop psychological problems as a result of the abuse, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), severe anxiety, and/or depression. If your immigration case involves political asylum, it is important to assess the extent and severity of your original trauma, whether you continue to suffer from psychological symptoms after your arrival in the U.S., and how long-lasting the psychological ramifications could be.
EXTREME AND EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP
In extreme and exceptional hardship cases, a citizen or a legal permanent resident of the U.S. is normally the spouse, fiancée, parent, or child of an individual who could be deported. The U.S. citizen applies for a waiver on the basis that deportation would result in an extreme and exceptional hardship.
The purpose of the psychological evaluation is to assess and explain the hardships that all the relevant family members would face if the waiver is not granted. Information obtained during the evaluation is used to answer two main questions: 1) Would deportation of the immigrant pose an extreme and unusual hardship to the relative in question? 2) Would it be an extreme and unusual hardship for the lawful-resident relative to accompany the immigrant back to his or her home country in case they are deported? The professional opinion rendered in a psychological evaluation greatly strengthens the case, and without it, the applicant would have to explain the hardship in his or her own words.
SPOUSAL ABUSE: VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
Despite the name, VAWA immigration provisions benefit both men and women. In spousal abuse cases, an individual from a foreign country marries a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident. After the marriage, the immigrant claims domestic abuse and seeks to file for legal status separately from their U.S. citizen spouse, usually because the spouse doesn’t wish to assist immigrant in the process.
Abuse can take the form of verbal, physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse. Marital incompatibilities which cause severe strains on a marriage and, in fact, could lead to divorce, do not by themselves constitute extreme cruelty. “Extreme cruelty” includes, but is not limited to, threats of violence, forceful detention, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, rape, molestation, incest (if the victim is a minor), and forced prostitution. The most important goal of VAWA is to allow you, the victim, to sever dependency on your abusive spouse by allowing you to file for permanent residency, without your spouse’s consent, help, support or participation of any kind.
It is important for the psychologist to evaluate the scope and nature of the abuse, the practical ramifications, and the emotional impact that the abuse has had on you. In the safety of the evaluation process, you can talk about the painful ordeal and its adverse impact on your life and emotional well-being. We often have witnessed this process to be of tremendous help in empowering victims and aiding them in the healing process way beyond the resolution of their immigration case.
The U Visa gives legal status to immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, who have been victims of serious crimes in the U.S. Such crimes including, but are not limited to, sexual abuse, domestic violence, involuntary servitude, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, trafficking, and rape. With a U Visa, the immigrant may stay and work in the U.S for up to four years. After three years, however, a victim with a U visa may apply for a green card.
The goal of the psychological evaluation is to assess the extent of serious physical, mental, or emotional consequences of the experience. An applicant for a U Visa has to be willing to assist the police and/or District Attorney’s Office in the investigation and/or with the prosecution of the criminal.
Call us at 866-497-0441 to learn more.