Evaluations for persons seeking asylum or immigration waivers typically fall into three broad categories (i) hardship waivers, (ii) asylum applications, and (iii) VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) evaluations.
A hardship waiver evaluation by a psychologist documents the hardship to a citizen or resident (“qualifying relative”, or “alien”) who will face “hardship” if his or her spouse, parent, and or child is deported.
A psychological evaluation can serve to document the nature of the hardship which may include a psychiatric/psychological diagnosis, the impact of that diagnosis on a health condition (e.g., diabetes, coronary disease, etc.), impaired work or interpersonal performance.
A complete evaluation will explore and document factors that may preclude the qualifying relative’s ability to move to another country and will address factors that impair the qualifying relative’s ability to reside in the United States without the Alien.
- POLITICAL ASYLUM
Asylum evaluations serve to document the adverse impact of mistreatment, abuse, or persecution experienced by, or inflicted on, the alien in his or her foreign country. More often than not the emotional consequence is the development of a mental health disorder (e.g., Major Depression, PTSD, etc.).
A complete evaluation will include a review of records, a review of the conditions of the country from which the alien is seeking asylum, an extended clinical interview, and formal psychological testing.
- SAME SEX COUPLES HARDSHIPS AND WAIVERS
With the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the Supreme Court’s recent decision inObergefell v. Hodges same sex couples may now use psychological evaluations to help demonstrate the spouse is the primary caregiver of a U.S. Citizen and help demonstrate the adverse effects of deportation on the American citizen. A comprehensive psychological evaluation (much like a “hardship evaluation”) may assist in establishing the hardships caused when the spouse of agay or lesbian citizen is deported.
- U VISA PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS
Immigrants who have been the victims of serious crimes while in the United States may, under The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act be eligible for U Visas.
Psychological evaluations are used to assist in documenting the substantial physical or mental abuse suffered as a result of having been a victim of a serious crime.
- VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, 1994) provides victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence(whether male or female, despite the title of the act) to attain lawful immigration status without their spouse’s petition.
The application for a VAWA cancellation of removal may be more strongly supported by psychological evaluation assessing both the client’s current mental state the emotional impact of the abuse. Psychological evaluations may be used to document the nature, severity, and frequency of the spousal abuse or domestic violence.