We help immigrants with four main types of immigration cases: Asylum, Extreme Hardship, Domestic Abuse Evaluations and waiver of citizenship exam. In Asylum cases, we interview and evaluate clients to get a detailed account of their reasons for claiming asylum and to determine how they have been psychologically impacted by mistreatment in their country of origin. For Extreme Hardship cases, we interview the families of immigrants to determine how they would be psychologically impacted if the immigrant were not granted permission to remain in the United States. In Domestic Abuse cases, an abused immigrant spouse petitions to be able to file for citizenship independently from his or her abusing spouse. In other words, if the abused immigrant is given permission, he or she can file for citizenship, even if the abusing spouse refuses to support it. We interview the abused client, in order to create a narrative of the abuse that occurred and to determine how the immigrant was emotionally impacted by that experience. Sometimes immigrants encounter problems when they have cognitive or memory difficulties and find themselves unable to learn the English language and United States history and civics that are tested before one is allowed to become an American citizen. We provide psychological testing, and, if a learning problem is present, we complete the form which certifies that the individual is unable to learn the material required for the immigration exam.
Immigration law is complicated and confusing. It is important to have informed and experienced professionals working with the immigrant to help him obtain the immigration status he seeks. We assess the psychological state of immigrants and their families and provide detailed, clear reports describing their background and mental health. If necessary, we can also conduct evaluations with the assistance of a translator (however, we do not provide translators). Our reports are used in immigration courts or U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services applications. Often our reports are accepted by the immigration court without need for psychologist testimony, but, when needed, we also provide expert witness testimony in court for immigration cases.
Many immigrants have experienced hardship and trauma in their lives. We are experienced in evaluating and explaining the causes and effects of trauma. We also provide therapy to trauma survivors and help them overcome the crippling aftereffects of their trauma, so they can start to live active, meaningful lives again. In addition, we treat patients for a variety of other mental health problems that immigrants suffer, such as depression, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
It is very important for immigrants to select an effective attorney for their case. Unfortunately, there are many immigration attorneys who are inexperienced, uninformed or unmotivated to provide proper representation for their clients. In selecting an attorney, the immigrant should seek a referral from other satisfied clients or from a professional who is well informed about the quality of that lawyer’s immigration work. Check into that attorney to make sure he is in good standing with the state authorities that regulate his practice. When you meet with the attorney, ask him specific questions about his background, including how long he has been doing immigration work, how many immigration cases he has handled, how many of your type of case he has handled, how often he represents clients in immigration court (if you have a problem that will require a court hearing), and what professional organizations he belongs to (at the very least, he should belong to the American Immigration Lawyer Association, AILA). Do not sign anything or hand over any money until you are completely satisfied that you want this lawyer to represent you. Remember that your lawyer works for you and owes you timely responses to your phone calls and emails and serious consideration of your concerns and problems. If your lawyer does not seem to remember you or your case, then maybe he is not the lawyer for you. Immigration law is very complicated because it can be affected by so many other areas of law. It is especially important for your lawyer to know how you might be impacted by prior criminal convictions.