What is an Immigration Clinical Evaluation?

An Immigration Clinical Evaluation is mental health assessment that is used to help immigration courts determine whether an individual will be able to remain lawfully in the United States.

An immigration evaluation begins with a discussion with your attorney. Once your attorney recommends that you and/or other members of your family (e.g., a child, a spouse) should undergo a clinical evaluation, we would speak with your attorney and gather pertinent information about your case and its specific legal issues.

The immigration evaluation itself includes in-depth interviews that usually spread over 2-4 sessions. During the assessment process, we will ask you questions about yourself and your immigration case. The topics will include, but are not limited to, your current immigration predicament; your personal, marital and family history; your work history; and 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 this evaluation. we will inform you about each step as it become relevant. we will then write a detailed report and send it to your attorney within 14 days of our final session. If your attorney has suggested you receive a immigration clinical evaluation, and you living in Douglasville, Lithia Springs, Mableton, Villa Rica, Carrollton, or any other town in West Georgia, then we are here to help.

Can't any therapist do Clinical Evaluations for immigration cases?

These types of evaluations and reports are very specific and address particular points. It is important that the therapist is familiar with the terms used in immigration law and understands the standard of evidence that is required by the court. It is also very important that the therapist has an experience with culturally diverse patients and is aware and sensitive to the wide range of customs and lifestyles of people from different parts of the world.

Therefore, it is recommended that an immigration evaluation therapist who is well-versed in the area of clinical evaluation and immigration issues provides these services. As one of the only organizations in Douglasville, Villa Rica, or Carrollton who perform immigration clinical evaluations, we am able to help anyone living in west Georgia.

What type of immigration cases are helped by a clinical evaluation?

In Extreme and Exceptional Hardship cases, a citizen of the United States, or a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, is the spouse, fiancée, parent, or child of an individual who could be deported from the United States. 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 clinical evaluation is to assess and explain the hardships that all the relevant family members would face if the waiver were not granted. Specifically, the information obtained in this 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 clinical evaluation greatly strengthens the case, and without it, the applicant would have to explain the hardship in his or her own words.

Extreme Hardship

Spousal Abuse
(Violence Against Women Act)

Despite the name of this act, the VAWA immigration provisions benefit both women and men. In spousal abuse cases, a woman or man from a foreign country marries a citizen or a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the United States. After the marriage, the immigrant claims the presence of domestic abuse and seeks to file for legal status separately from their U.S. citizen spouse, usually because the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse doesn’t wish to assist his or her spouse in this process. The foreign national can file a VAWA petition even if the marriage ended in divorce, as long as there was a connection between the divorce and domestic violence and/or abuse. The 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.

In these cases, it is important for the therapist 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 your emotional wellbeing. We often have witnessed this process be of tremendous help in empowering the victims and aiding them in the healing process way beyond the resolution of their immigration case.

Applicants for political 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 the immigrant. It is most common that the individual has developed 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 is 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.

In addition to the legal aid you are receiving, an immigration evaluation therapist can help you communicate and document the mental health aspects of your case.

Political Asylum

U Visas

U Visa gives legal status to immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, who have been victims of serious crimes in the United States. 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 clinical 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.

Need an Immigration Clinical Evaluation?

Give us a call at (678) 753-2527

or email immigration@alashealth.org