The Immigration & Mental Health Program at COIT
The Immigration & Mental Health Program at COIT Provides Mental Health Psychological Evaluations and Expert Reporting for Immigration Petitions & Waivers
The Immigration and Mental Health Program at the Center of Inner Transformations specializes in providing exceptional detailed mental health reports for immigration cases applying for waivers and petitions including Asylum, U-Visa, T-Visa, Domestic Violence (VAWA), Extreme Hardship Cases, Citizenship Examination Waiver (N-648) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Since 2017, we have conducted these specialized mental health evaluations and have provided clinical reporting with very high rates of success. Our clinical licensed therapists have received advanced training from Physicians for Human Rights and pride in serving the many immigrants and their families in our communities, so that they can live a safe life in America, free of the detrimental, harmful effects caused by deportation.
Our Specialized Immigration & Mental Evaluations Include:
- A thorough bio-psycho-social clinical mental health assessment
- Administration of psycho-metric screening and assessment tools to assess and report clinical DSM-5 diagnosis and symptomology, behavioral observations and interpretations
- Specialized psycho-education, research and fact reporting related to the specific needs of the immigration petition
- Culturally sensitive de-stigmatization of symptoms and treatment recommendations, including clinical justification to defer and avoid deportation. (Our goal is to help our clients heal and stay in the United States of America safely)
At the Center of Inner Transformations, we pride ourselves on being skilled, thorough, and compassionate skilled clinical therapists.
All of our contracted clinicians are:
- Fully licensed mental health therapists
- Family members of immigrants who have experienced their own immigration challenges
- Trauma-trained and trauma-informed
- Experienced in addressing the unique cultural needs of immigrant and transcultural individuals and families.
- Cultural competent to understand and work with individuals from diverse backgrounds and different countries.
Currently We Offer:
We provide Tele-Mental Health Video Sessions offered on a confidential, HIPAA platform video conferencing platform and an electronic records system to fill out the required forms and questionnaires. Our clients can access their client portal to engage in their services from their smartphone, tablet or computer from the comfort and privacy of their home.
Call to Schedule an Appointment or for a Free Consultation: (732) 508-0052.
WHAT IS A IMMIGRATION & MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATION?
- A mental health evaluation is a conversation with a licensed mental health professional. We will talk about your history (where you come from, how and why you came to this country, and what your life is like now) as well as the state of your mental and emotional health as it relates to the reason for your immigration petition. We are REAL PEOPLE WHO CARE. So expect compassion, patience and all the support you need as we help you tell us more about you and what your going through.
- The Immigration and Mental Health Evaluation process itself can last anywhere between 2-4 hours. Additional collateral interview sessions via audio, video or in person may be needed.
- A comprehensive report, anywhere from 15-25 pages is written to summarize the evaluation, findings and recommendations based on the specific needs of the individuals case.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
- Call the number above to for a consultation and schedule an appointment with one of our licensed mental health professionals.
- You will provided your Patient Portal, where you can electronically sign the required forms including consents, disclosures and questionnaires before your evaluation.
- A comprehensive report will be mailed directly to your attorney, your advocate, representation or yourself in about two-three weeks after your evaluation. (Additional fees are required for expedited services)
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME or WHAT DO I NEED?
- If possible, a copy of your legal declaration (you can request this from your attorney)
- It helps if you have some basic dates on hand, such as: the year you immigrated to the US and any other significant dates related to the reason for your immigration petition. If you have a copy of a police report, it could be helpful, but it is not necessary.
- A valid photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
- The fee for the evaluation (see below)
- Honesty and Openness about your true feelings and experiences
The cost of this process is $995 – this includes the complete evaluation and the finalized written report after 2-3 weeks from the day of the initial evaluation.
Expedited Services: If your report needs to be delivered in less than 3 weeks, we offer expedited rush services at an additional fee.
For a 10 Day turnaround, there is an additional fee of $200.
For a 7 day turnaround, there is an additional fee of $300.
For a 3 day turnaround, there is an additional fee of $600.
HOW CAN I PAY?
You may choose to pay the fee with cash, money order or credit/debit card (Additional 4% credit card processing charge). All services must be paid in full prior to us completing the evaluation and writing the comprehensive report.
For immigration evaluations, there is a 48-hour cancellation policy. If you 1) cancel or reschedule with less than 48-hours notice, 2) arrive more than 20 minutes late for your scheduled appointment (considered a no-show), or 3) do not attend your scheduled appointment, you will be charged a no show fee equal to the amount of the lossed time in services which could be up to 50% of the evaluation. (There will be four hours that will be set aside for your appointment and it is not always possible to fill that time with short notice.)
“The Types of Cases that Need Psychological Evaluations for Specific Immigration Petitions and Waivers”
In an extreme hardship case, a citizen or resident of the United States applies for the immigration waiver because the deportation of a family member will cause extreme hardship for themselves or their family.
The deportation will cause extreme hardship to the family (e.g. spouse, children, or parents) rather than to the individual that may be deported. The court consider extreme hardships to be unusual or beyond what would be normally expected from deportation.
A few examples of situations that are considered “extreme” include:
- A family member has a major medical issue and can’t safely travel abroad, making it necessary for the individual to remain in the U.S. to care for the family member.
- An individual’s parents are aging and require the person to stay in the U.S. to care for them.
- An individual is a primary breadwinner in the family and their deportation will cause extreme financial hardship for the family.
- The individual’s children are far along in their education in the U.S. and are unable to speak, read, or write in the language of the foreign country. Leaving the U.S. might permanently prevent them from completing their education.
- If one parent has to leave the U.S., it can cause the child that is left behind to develop separation anxiety. In some cases, young children who lack the emotional maturity to understand why a parent might have to leave the U.S. might also develop a depressive disorder.
If the court finds that there will be extreme or exceptional hardship on the U.S. citizen or resident, the deportation order may be canceled and legal permanent residence granted.
In asylum cases, the immigrant has been subjected to mistreatment and abuse in their country of origin due to situations such as their political beliefs, religious affiliation, ethnic identity, or gender. They are seeking asylum or safety from their country of origin within the U.S. It is common for individuals to develop depressive disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the abuse or mistreatment they endured in their country.
A psychological evaluation will establish the mental health consequences of prior abuse or persecution. An evaluation will also help determine how the abuse or will continue to impact the individual in the future.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides for immigration benefits to men and women who have been physically and/or mentally abused by their U.S. citizen spouse.
If an individual is undocumented, married to a U.S. citizen, and they are victims of domestic abuse, they may be eligible for permanent residency in the U.S.
A psychological evaluation will help establish the psychological impact that the verbal, physical, or sexual abuse had on the individual.
Citizenship Examination Waiver (N-648)
In these cases, an individual is requested to be waived from taking the U.S. citizenship examination due to cognitive deficits.
Conditions that can cause cognitive deficits include dementia, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, or an intellectual disability.
An individual can be evaluated to determine if their claims are valid and the extent to which their cognitive impairment will impact their ability to take the examination.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Individuals petitioning for a waiver under DACA can be denied if they have a serious criminal conviction (e.g. domestic violence).
A psychological evaluation can help determine if their actions and behavior were due to a mental disorder, abuse, or other cognitive deficit.
A U-Visa may be granted to an undocumented individual living in the U.S. if the individual can demonstrate that they have experienced substantial mental or physical abuse due to being a victim of a serious crime that occurred in the U.S.
Examples of serious crimes include but are not limited to the following: domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, murder, torture, kidnapping, and stalking.
The individual must also be willing to help law enforcement and provide information that assists with the prosecution of the individual that committed the crime.
It is not uncommon for victims to develop a depressive disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A psychological evaluation can help establish how the crime mentally impacted an individual.
A T-Visa can be granted to victims of human trafficking and their immediate families if they agree to assist law enforcement in testifying against their perpetrators.
In order to be eligible for a T-Visa, an individual must demonstrate that they will endure unusual or severe harm if they were deported from the U.S.
Unusual or severe harm does not include current or future financial detriment or lack of social and economic opportunities.
Unusual or severe harm can include the following:
- Age and personal circumstances of the T-Visa applicant.
- Serious physical or mental illness of the T-Visa applicant because treatment is not available in their home country.
- High likelihood of re-victimization.
- Reasonable expectation of punishment by the trafficker or related individuals upon return to their country.
A psychological evaluation can be helpful in highlighting the specific hardship issues related to the case. It is also not uncommon for individuals to develop depressive disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of their experiences.
A psychological evaluation will establish the mental health consequences of the physical or sexual abuse they endured while they were being trafficked.
What is the evaluation process like?
The in-person evaluation typically lasts two to four hours and involves an in-depth clinical interview and psychological testing. You will be given a variety psycho-metric assessments to evaluate your mental health symptoms prior to you entering the evaluators office. You then will be engaged in the comprehensive bio-psycho-social interview to gather information relevant to supporting your immigration case.
All of our evaluations are comprehensive and are tailored to the needs of the client. We consider all your attorney’s recommendation and our aim is to assist you with providing a compelling and detailed written report.
Can you work through an interpreter?
Yes, We work with interpreters regularly. We have a Spanish speaking interpreter on staff at an additional cost. Please note: clients are responsible for finding and bringing an interpreter to the appointment. We can provide assistance with getting an interpretor to work with you, but we encourage you try to find your own. The professional interpreter charges their own fees, which may be costly. The client would be fully responsible for the cost of any interpreters that may be used during the time of our service. We recommend finding an interpreter for the evaluation if possible.
Do I need to bring anything with me to the appointment?
In most cases, no. However, there may be instances in which obtaining a copy of your medical or legal records would be helpful. We can discuss this at the time of the evaluation.
How much do you charge for Immigration & Mental Health Evaluations and the related comprehensive, hand written report?
I charge $995 for evaluation and related report. This includes a clinical interview, records review, and a comprehensive hand typed 15-25 page report that will be first class mailed to your attorney or representative (or to you directly if not represented by an attorney).
Additionally, I may be available for your court hearings as an expert witness at the hourly rate of $275. This would include any testimonies provided at immigration court.
Do I have to pay the full amount at the time of the appointment?
I require a minimum payment of $500 at the time of the appointment. You can pay the remainder at a later date but the report will not be developed and sent to your attorney or any related parties until full payment has been rendered.
I will not send the report to the attorney (or to you) until you have paid in full.
What forms of payment do you accept?
I accept cash, money orders and credit/debit cards only. There is an additional 4% processing fee for all credit card payments.
What is the report like?
After the interview, I write a comprehensive (15 to 25 pages) report outlining your personal (family, educational, medical, etc.) history, any mental health diagnoses and clinical interpretations that support your reason for your immigration petition. All reports include a summary paragraph where I answer the legal question specific to the case. I may also request and include medical or legal records that are relevant to your case.
How quickly will you have the report ready after our appointment?
I typically send reports to attorneys (or directly to clients, where applicable) within two to maximum three weeks after meeting with the client.
How will a psychological evaluation help?
The answer to this question differs depending on the type of case (i.e. hardship vs. U visa vs. asylum.) However, the general purpose of a mental health evaluation for immigration court is to document any mental health conditions or diagnoses and to describe, from a psychosocial perspective, how potential deportation would impact a client and their family. A mental health evaluation can also help address discrepancies in a client’s report of personal history or clinical presentation, for example, by citing research regarding memory and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Research studies have demonstrated the utility of psychological evaluations in immigration cases. For example, in a study of asylum seekers, 89% of those who received a medical evaluation from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) were granted asylum, versus the national average of 37.5% of US asylum seekers who did not receive PHR evaluations.