An Immigration Evaluation is a psychosocial assessment that is used to help immigration courts determine whether an individual will be able to remain lawfully in the United States. The evaluation often consists of several in-person interviews as well as the completion of some psychological tests and measures. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine and explain the ways in which the qualified family member (U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident) would suffer hardship if the non-citizen was deported or not allowed to enter the country as well as if the qualified relative also had to leave the U.S. to live with the non-citizen in their country of origin.
The psychosocial evaluation adds a tremendous value to the immigration case. A qualified mental health professional can explain to the immigration professionals what the impact to the qualified relative might be based on the information they gather from the interviews and tests. This impact may not be obvious and apparent to a non-clinician as trauma is not always visible to an outsider. The mental health clinician can effectively assess whether the deportation will likely have a significant emotional and psychological impact on the qualified family member. The psychosocial evaluation is designed to document and explain what this impact would be to the immigration professionals.
I offer psychosocial evaluations for immigration cases for the following situations:
- Extreme Hardship Waiver (I-601 and I-601A): If you are an immigrant who has been illegally living in the United States for more than one year, you may become a legal resident after leaving the country and then serving a 10-year reentry ban. Individuals claiming extreme hardship from deportation or barred reentry may apply for what is known as a “601 waiver” and avoid the 10-year banishment rule. The evaluation for this waiver is often given to the spouse, child or parent of the non-citizen and must demonstrate the ways in which the qualifying relative would suffer “extreme” hardship if the non-citizen was deported or not allowed to enter the country. Common concerns or extreme hardships include psychological stressors, emotional hardship (i.e. depression, anxiety, worry, fear for the future), health concerns, financial considerations, family ties, and fear of persecution.
- Cancellation of Removal: If you are an immigrant who has lived in the United States for more than 10 years, is determined to have “good moral character,” and has had no convictions of crime but you are in removal proceedings, you may be able to apply for a cancellation of removal. The evaluation in this instance is often given to the non-citizen’s spouse, child or parent and they must demonstrate the hardship to be “exceptional” and “extremely unusual.” This means that you must demonstrate how the deportation would cause the qualifying family member to suffer a hardship, which would be substantially worse than the hardship normally expected from deportation to an underdeveloped country.
- VAWA/Domestic Violence Evaluations: VAWA Evaluations are used in spousal abuse cases, when a man or woman from a foreign country marries a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR) and the relationship becomes abusive, with the American citizen as the abuser and the immigrant spouse as the victim. Often, the abuser will threaten the victim with deportation to keep her/him silent about the abuse. When this happens, the victim can leave their abuser and petition US Immigration to be allowed to stay in the United States, filing for legal status separately from their U.S. citizen spouse. The most important goal of VAWA is to allow the victim to sever dependency on the abusive spouse by allowing them to file for permanent residency, without the spouse’s consent, help, support or participation of any kind. The purpose of the evaluation for these cases is to demonstrate and prove that you were the victim of abuse (verbal, emotional, physical) or extreme cruelty by your spouse and the psychological impact that it had on you.
- U-Visa Evaluations: If you have been the victim of a serious crime and are cooperating with law enforcement officials in the prosecution of the perpetrators, you may be eligible for a U-Visa. U-Visa Evaluations conducted by mental health professionals are used to document the type and extent of the psychological damage and distress you suffered as a result of your victimization.
- T-Visa Evaluation: If you have been the victim of human trafficking into the U.S. and are cooperating with law enforcement officials in the prosecution of the perpetrators, you may be eligible for a T-Visa. T-Visa Evaluations conducted by mental health professionals are used to document the type and extent of the psychological damage and distress you suffered as a result of your victimization. The evaluation also must assess and determine if there will be an extreme hardship if the victim returns to their country of origin.
- Political Asylum Evaluations: Applicants for asylum often have been exposed to extreme deprivation, severe abuse, and even torture in their home country. Frequently, the mistreatment is associated with a political, religious, and/or ethnic persecution. At some point, the individual flees his or her country to the United States and files a Political Asylum claim. The purpose of an immigration evaluation in asylum cases is to collect information about this mistreatment and to examine the psychological impact that these circumstances have had on you and to demonstrate the negative impact if you were to have to return to your country of origin.
The evaluation process: The psychosocial evaluation usually consists of two 90 minute in-person interview sessions. I offer these sessions in a safe, supportive and confidential environment. During the interviews, we will discuss your personal and family history, education, employment history, economic factors, family life, physical health, and mental health. These interviews may be difficult for you. It is important for you to be open and honest with me about your prior and present experiences and the impact they have had on you and your family. In addition to the in-person interviews, you will also be asked to complete some psychosocial screening tools or tests. The results from these tools will be integrated into the report to support our interviews. The initial report draft will be sent confidentially to you and your attorney for review. Once approved, a final and signed report will be mailed to both you and your attorney. This process usually takes 3 – 4 weeks.
Evaluation and Report Fee: I charge a flat rate of $1,200 for the evaluations, testing measures, and completed report. An initial deposit of $600 must be paid up front and full payment is required prior to receiving the final signed copy. I accept cash and credit cards and can work with you on a payment plan if needed.
Expedited Report Fee: If a completed evaluation and report is needed in less than 2 weeks, an expedited report cost will be added to the evaluation and report fee. Please contact me to learn more about this.
Court Fee: If I am required to be in court, the time preparing, traveling to, and attending court will have an additional hourly fee with a mandatory deposit of 4 hours of time that will be required prior to going to court. This is non-refundable. Please contact me to learn more about this fee.