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Immigration, Refugees & Human Rights

Information for DACA, Immigration and Refugees:

With the current political climate, many people including your friends, neighbors and colleges could be at risk of deportation. This article seeks to explain different circumstances under which refugees and immigrants’ rights are protected under the law and how they may be eligible to stay in the Unite states with special permission. This article may help you, or someone you know stay safe and learn how to protect themselves.

Did you know we have thousands of immigrant and refugees currently detained in detention centers across this country? They are in jail for coming to the US seeking safety and protection from violence, torture, fear persecution and death in their country of origin. What can they do? How can they get help?

Many people are called to be adjudicated before immigration judges quickly. Even children are called before judges to represent their own cases, without legal representation, proof or documentation of the crimes committed against them in their country of origin. It is very, very difficult to represent yourself on your own. Thirty seven percent of Asylum cases that go before a judge are not favorable. The immigrant or refugee is deported. Those who work with organizations such as Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), have a 90% success rate in favor of the refugees. How is this so? They have the assistance of trained professionals on their side.

PHR has come to occupy a prominent position in the human rights movement. PHR focuses on the critical role of forensic science, clinical medicine, and public health research in ensuring that human rights abuses are properly documented using the most rigorous scientific methodologies possible. PHR experts use epidemiology, medical and psychological evaluations, autopsies, forensic anthropology, and crime scene analysis to document serious abuses, including murder, torture, rape, starvation, forced displacement, and civilian attacks. PHR’s human rights training and mentoring emphasize medicine and science as the foundation of every aspect of evidence collection, documentation, and implementation of international norms and standards. We provide credible evidence, data, and research to corroborate allegations of human rights violations not only to prevent future abuses, but also to ensure the prosecution of perpetrators by courts, tribunals, and truth commissions. PHR can be very helpful. However, they do not always have enough doctors to take on all of the cases presented to them. Our Therapist was trained by PHR and conducts evaluations both for PHR, and as a specialist in private practice.

Why do I Need an Evaluation?

A psychological evaluation can be paramount in strengthening and substantiating your immigration case. In the United States, there are laws to protect immigrants. If you have fled your country due to political, racial, ethnic, religious, or other persecution, you may be eligible for asylum. If you have been a victim of domestic abuse, or a crime, an evaluation can help substantiate your petition. You may be eligible to file for a U Visa, or petition to remain in the United states under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Domestic Violence: The Violence Against Women Act not only protects women, but also men who have been victims of domestic violence. Domestic Violence revolves around dynamics of power and control and may include; mental, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, physical abuse, or a combination of the above. A psychological evaluation and report can help document the abuse, and any psychological deficits and/ or trauma you may have experienced. This may be helpful, or even required for your attorney’s case.

Victims of a Crime: If you were the victim of a crime and cooperated with the authorities, you may be eligible for a U Visa. The U Visa is a temporary form of immigration status that allows a person to lawfully live and work in the United States. It does not automatically guarantee a “green card” or U.S. Citizenship. A person may apply for a green card, or lawful permanent residence, after three years of U Visa status. Crimes that potentiate eligibility for U Visa status include domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and others. In these cases, our reports and evaluations can help document your account of the crime which occurred, and its impact on your emotional state and current level of functioning.

Extreme Hardship: Psychological Evaluations are also helpful in extreme hardship cases (I- 601). When an individual faces deportation, this can potentially cause extreme psychological, emotional and other hardship for family members. When extreme hardship is uncovered via a psychological report, cancellation of deportation may be obtained, if the report contains information documenting exceptional and extremely unusual hardship for the qualifying U.S. spouse, family, or relative.

Political Asylum: Psychological Evaluations are often necessary in political asylum cases. We take great care in handling these cases and in doing research regarding your country of origin, that will aid your attorney in defending your case. Moreover, if you are in immigrant and did not file for asylum within the one- year deadline as per U.S. immigration law, an evaluation which explains your circumstances and psychological deficits can help your attorney defend you in filing for an exception for not filing within your first year in the United States.

To prevail on an asylum application when the applicant is filing more than one year after arriving in the United States, the applicant must demonstrate “either the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing the application within the first year of entry.” Additionally, the applicant must prove that the application was filed within a “reasonable period” after the changed or extraordinary circumstance.

Our Process for Evaluations:

After your initial phone inquiry, we will set up an appointment to meet at our office to begin the Clinical Interview process. We conduct in-depth immigration assessments and evaluations using both clinical interview and objective mental health assessments to produce the best evidence to support your petition. Unlike some mental health professionals, we do not complete evaluations after speaking with you for only one hour. Depending upon your case, we may meet with you for 3-6 hours which is included in our fees. We provide very extensive reports, and spend time talking with you and completing our evaluations. We value integrity, and pride ourselves in putting our clients first, thoroughly evaluating each case individually. We recognize that when you call us for an evaluation, you are in a difficult and vulnerable position. We work very hard to make you feel comfortable and extend compassion and courtesy to each client. We also provide wrap around services, for those who may need on-going counseling in Spanish or in English. Please call us for more information or with any questions you may have, (908) 516-3285. We can also refer you to reputable, reliable attorneys our clients have used for legal counsel if you are seeking representation.

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