Immigration Psychological Evaluations in San Antonio, Texas
While the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows for asylum (individuals permitted to enter and live in the U.S.), they usually require a immigration psychological evaluation to be presented to the immigration court and part of your case. The process of immigrating to the United States is lengthy, but it can be made easier with an immigration psychological evaluation. The team at Rhapsody Counseling is dedicated to helping individuals and families in the San Antonio, Texas region navigate the immigration process and get the help they need. Thus if you need a immigration psychological evaluation for a petition and presentation to the immigration court, we can help you.
Immigration Psychological Evaluations in San Antonio
We know immigrating can be a stressful process, with anxiety and worry straining family relationships made worse with financial pressure. In conducting immigration psychological evaluations we have seen that for both individuals and families, conversations, talking about the stressors, difficulties, and traumas associated with their effort to immigrate is an essential empowering and healing step.
We provide family and individual counseling services and immigration psychological evaluations for those undergoing the immigration process. In collaboration with your immigration lawyer, we’ll review your petition with focus on the important details concerning emotional and mental wellness along with behavioral health. Rhapsody immigration psychological evaluations are comprehensive and include not only the person seeking asylum but how deportation would affect his or her family. Immigration psychological evaluations are commonly required for hardship waiver, VAWA Evaluations (Violence Against Women Act Immigration Petitions), U-Visa, and asylum cases.
An immigration psychological evaluation involves meeting with a Rhapsody counselor and having conversations on topics such as any previous mental wellness diagnoses, previous trauma, your current situation, future plans, and the support system in place for you here in the U.S. It’s also possible your lawyer will provide guidance on specific subjects and topics to address. The amount of needed meetings will vary based on the complexity of your case. Each immigration situation is unique and we are a safe space for everyone seeking immigration where you are respected, supported, and helped in this complicated process. Rhapsody Counseling can work with you and your Immigration lawyer to write a thorough report presenting the best case possible for a successful outcome of your immigration court case at trial or on appeal.
What Happens at an Immigration Psychological Evaluation?
The immigration psychological evaluation includes a walk-thu of each step of the entire process to familiarize and comfort you with what to expect. Immigration psychological evaluations might involve a couple of meetings the involve:
- Interviewing the undocumented person and close family members to understand key social background, psychological, medical information, and your current level of psychological and cognitive functioning.
- Consulting with your lawyer to understand the type of waiver sought and best suited for your case.
- Reviewing psychological, medical, and other supporting documents that give a more complete picture and profile of your emotional and psychological functioning.
- If necessary or helpful we will administer certain psychological questionnaires and or test that might be helpful in pinpointing where you are having any psychological difficulty.
- If your lawyer requests evaluations for cognitive issues such as dementia, traumatic brain injury, learning disability, or any other neuropsychological tests.
- Once the evaluation is completed, we will document a comprehensive report reflecting our findings and give it to your lawyer.
For Immigration, Why Do I Need a Psychological Evaluation?
Immigration psychological evaluations are vital to immigration cases, particularly when there isn’t necessarily a paper trail of persecution, police reports of harm, or other forms of documented reports. Immigration psychological evaluations help immigration judges better understand behavior and hesitancy in responding to questions about what people have endured, their trauma and or why inability to recall specific details is often rooted in trauma.
A thorough, expert evaluation performed by Rhapsody Counseling about the relevant mental health issues and factors involved in extreme immigration hardships, along with a comprehensive report, can be strategically and sensibly used by your immigration attorney to effectively support your case.
What Is a Immigration Psychological Evaluation?
An Immigration Psychological Evaluation is a professional assessment helpful to immigration courts in making their determination on whether a person will be allowed to lawfully remain in the United States. An immigration psychological evaluation generally starts with a discussion with your lawyer. Once your lawyer advises that you and/or other family members should undergo a psychological evaluation, we communicate with your lawyer and collect pertinent information concerning your case and its specific circumstances and legal issues.
The immigration psychological evaluation session involves in-depth interviews usually spread over a couple of meetings. A therapist asks questions about yourself and your immigration case during the assessment process. The subjects of the questions center on but are not restricted to:
- Your current immigration situation
- Your personal, marital and family history
- Your work history; and relevant medical and psychiatric history
Along with meeting and having a comprehensive conversation, there are some situations where we may need to speak with others who may have relevant information learned in our conversation. The immigration psychological evaluation is completed with a thorough report that is sent to your lawyer.
Can Any Therapist Perform a Immigration Psychological Evaluation?
Immigration psychological evaluations are very specialized and cover particular issues and matters. It is essential that the therapist is knowledgeable of the language used in immigration law and thoroughly understands the standard of evidence courts require to be met. It’s also essential for the therapist to be familiar with culturally diverse people, knowledgeable and sensitive to the lifestyles and customs of people from throughout the world. Rhapsody Counseling offers a team of therapists who themselves represent a multicultural and diverse background that includes being experienced in bilingual immigration psychological evaluations.
Immigration Psychological Evaluations for Extreme Psychological Hardship & Immigration Court
(Removal for Deportation 601-Waiver Cancellation and J-1 Visa)
In Extreme Hardship cases, a legal permanent resident of the United States or a citizen of the United States, is the individual (either the spouse, fiancée, child or parent) of an undocumented person facing being deported from the United States. In extreme psychological hardship situations, a resident or citizen of the United States submits the application for the immigration waiver and establishes the deportation of the undocumented family member will produce extreme hardship for not only themselves (the U.S. resident/citizen applicant) but their entire family (e.g. spouse, parents, or children).
It’s important to understand the negative effects of deportation such separation of parents from small children and job loss in the eyes of the court are considered “typical” hardships. The court recognizes hardship as “extreme” only where the family is impacted in ways beyond what is typically expected from deportation.
Examples of hardship that are considered “extreme” are:
- A family member has a major health or medical issue requiring a caretaker and the undocumented individual is serving that role and thus needs to remain in the U.S.
- A person’s parents are aging, need a caretaker, and the undocumented son or daughter needs to stay here in the U.S. to serve that role.
- An undocumented person is a primary income source for the family and deporting them will result in family suffering extreme financial hardship.
- The undocumented person’s children are well into their U.S. education and unable to read, write, or speak in the native language of the country of origin. Deportation from the U.S. could permanently derail completing their education.
- If one undocumented parent is deported, it can result in a child left behind to experience a disorder such as separation anxiety or depression.
If immigration court determines there will be exceptional or extreme hardship on the U.S. resident(s) or citizen(s) involved in the case, a standing deportation order can be canceled and the undocumented person granted legal residence.
The immigration psychological evaluation’s purpose is to assess, document, and explain the hardships that would result to all relevant family members if the waiver was denied and deportation continued. Specifically, the information gathered in the immigration psychological evaluation is a response to two key questions: 1) Would deportation of the undocumented person pose an unusual and extreme hardship to the U.S. based relative(s) involved in the case? and; 2) Would it be an unusual and extreme hardship for the lawfully residing U.S. based relative(s) to accompany the undocumented person back to their country of origin should the documented person be deported. In other words, the role the undocumented person serves to the U.S. based relative(s) cannot be exported and can only take place in the U.S. (such a caretaking).
Rhapsody therapists conduct immigration psychological hardship assessments combining both clinical interviews and objective mental health tests to build the best case with the strongest evidence to support the success of your petition. We collaborate with families, immigration lawyers, and other resources and assets that are part of your case, both locally and nationally. If you do not have an immigration lawyer, we can refer you to a San Antonio based immigration law firm experienced in these matters.
Immigration Psychological Evaluations for Political Asylum & Immigration Court
Applicants seeking political asylum very often have been exposed to forms of abuse, oppression, deprivation, and even torture in their country of origin due to their religious affiliation, ethnic identity, political beliefs, or gender identity. People applying based on these circumstances often have levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), and or depression, and or severe anxiety, and or other disorders resulting from the treatment they endured in their country.
Immigration psychological evaluations in asylum cases involve gathering detailed information about the forms of mistreatment endured, the history of the mistreatment, and an assessment of the psychological impact the mistreatment has had on the undocumented person. An immigration psychological evaluation documents the mental health consequences of the persecution and abuse experienced and how long-lasting the psychological ramifications could impact the person in the future.
Immigration Psychological Evaluations for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) & Immigration Court
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers immigration benefits to women and men who’ve been abused either mentally and or physically (including sexually) by their U.S. citizen spouse. If an undocumented person marries a U.S. citizen, and later becomes a domestic abuse victim, they might be eligible to receive permanent U.S. residency. An immigration psychological evaluation will help determine the psychological impact of the sexual, physical, verbal, or mental abuse they’ve endured.
What happens is after the marriage, the immigrant claims domestic abuse existed in the relationship and pursues filing for legal residency in the U.S. separately from their U.S. resident or citizen spouse. This is the common path as typically the U.S. resident or citizen spouse has no interest in helping their ‘ex’ in this process. The victim can leave the abuser, file a VAWA petition to be allowed to stay in the U.S. and in time obtain permanent resident status (a Green Card) by successfully proving being abused by their U.S. resident/citizen spouse.
Even if the marriage ended in divorce the foreign national spouse completes a VAWA petition, assuming the divorce is connected to the abuse. In serving clients in these matters we explore for indications that “extreme cruelty” existed in the relationship, including but is not limited to psychological abuse, forceful detention, threats of violence, degrading the victim, sexual abuse, social isolation, threats of deporation, not allowing the victim to get a job, humiliating the victim privately and/or publically, etc.
In VAWA immigration psychological evaluations we are a ‘safe space’ where we learn about the painful ordeal the client has endured and its adverse impact on their life and emotional wellbeing. We document the nature and scope of the abuse along with the emotional and psychological toll it’s taken – in a way that’s indisputable and clear for the immigration court.
Immigration Psychological Evaluations for U-Visa & Immigration Court
A U-Visa (U nonimmigrant status) may be granted by the immigration court to an undocumented person living in the U.S. if the person can demonstrate while in the U.S. they have been a victim of crime wherein substantial physical or mental injury was incurred. The nature of the crimes may include sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence, stalking, kidnapping, torture and other serious crimes. The undocumented person must also be willing to cooperate with law enforcement in providing information helpful in the prosecution of the alleged offending criminal.
Victims of serious crime commonly develop a depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other trauma related ailment. A psychological evaluation can assess, uncover, and document the extent of any debilitating mental or behavioral disorders that remain with the victim.
With a U-Visa, the person may live and work in the U.S for as long as 4 years. However after the first 3 years of living in the U.S. a U-Visa holder can become a green card applicant and secure long term residency.
Immigration Psychological Evaluations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals / DACA & Immigration Court
Undocumented persons petitioning for a DACA waiver can be denied if a serious criminal conviction such as domestic violence is in their background. In such cases a psychological evaluation can determine if and to what measure their behavior and actions were rooted in a mental disorder or other cognitive deficit.
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