Psychological Immigration Evaluations

Immigration hardship evaluations are psychological reports written by a mental health professional in relation to a pending immigration case. This is usually done in conjunction with an immigration attorney. An immigration attorney is the only one who can advocate for the non-permanent resident who wants to stay in the US. So, the role of the immigration evaluation therapist is to assess the potential psychological impact of removing the non-permanent resident on the legal resident.

As the immigration evaluation therapist, it is my responsibility to interview the legal resident learn about their relationship with the non-permanent resident. How did they meet? How deeply entangled is this person in their life? What benefit do you give each other? The greater the measure to which it can be demonstrated the non-resident they are trying to keep here is of physical, financial, emotional, or of psychological importance — the better.

Who Needs a Psychological Evaluation?

The process of the psychological evaluation aims to predict the hardship or distress that would be experienced by a US citizen as a result of deportation. The typical situations that call for an immigration evaluation are:

  • Asylum seekers
  • A family that is facing economic or social hardship if an undocumented family member were to be deported
  • A spouse requesting for their undocumented partner to stay with them, as it would create a hardship if they left
  • People requesting to stay in the country if they have been a victim of domestic violence

The process often starts with a referral from an immigration attorney, although we will accept self-referred clients. Because we are not attorneys, our job is simply to present a diagnosis and an argument within the report stating why there will be detriment to this family if the non-resident is removed.

psychological evaluations for immigration

Key Factors For Immigration Hardship Evaluations

Financial Need

In evaluating to see what harm would come to the legal resident if this loved one were to be deported, a financial need can be used as a basis for staying within the report. Ironically, though this person is not legally able to work, the ability to demonstrate some form of financial responsibility is a plus. Are they somehow contributing to the bills, or are they a financial drain to the family? An argument for hardship can be made if the family is adversely impacted due to a lack of income.

Medical Dependence

Are you physically or medically impaired? If the non-resident’s contributions are improving the resident’s quality of life in this area, its important that the therapist knows this. Make sure to report any preexisting conditions. Are you taking medication? Are you recovering from surgery? Do you have any existing mental conditions? Though every situation is different, if the physical or mental health of the resident might decline due to the non-resident’s deportation, a case for hardship can be presented on those grounds.

Psychological Instability

Losing a family member or compromising the family unit would likely be tough for most people, but for some, it could present mental instability. If a person has a preexisting mental condition, or qualifies for one, it might be grounds for presenting a hardship. For some people, it could be anxiety or depression. It could be separation anxiety. It could be mixed depression that could potentially occur or simultaneously occur during the process, because losing a loved one induce a tremendous amount of stress. This situation can easily send many people into a state of high anxiety.

Family Disruption

Is this person your spouse? Are there children involved in the equation? Is this person the provider in the household? Every situation is different, but cohesion of the family unit is a consideration when generating an evaluation. If deportation means breaking up the family unit, it could be the basis for demonstrating a hardship. If a parent will be removed from the household, that can cause serious emotional detriment to the spouse and the family.

immigration evaluation

Let Us Help You With Your Immigration Evaluation

If you or someone you love is facing deportation due to the undocumented status of a non-resident, and you believe an immigration hardship evaluation can help, contact us. The immigration evaluation process consists of about three sessions with the person who is the legal resident. As your hardship evaluation psychologist, we will discuss your background and explore its connection to what is currently happening – identifying the hardships where we can.

Another factor to note is that ideally the non-resident be in good standing with the law. No criminal record or encounters with the police is preferable. However, even if there are some blemishes, so long as its not a pattern and they’re minor — it can be worked out. Ultimately, the overall assessment will be looking to see if the non-resident is reliable and a valuable addition to the community. If you’re willing to advocate for that person, that the first step in the right direction.

Get in Touch Now!

HCH Therapy and Counseling can help you with your immigration hardship evaluation. My aim is to make all the mental health services I provide both accessible and affordable. I accept many insurances, and have variable payment options based on financial need. I also participate in community education efforts to reduce stigmas that pertain to mental health by engaging in multiple forms of outreach — from community suppers to free workshops.