Forensic Evaluations


Forensic mental health evaluations serve a vital purpose for immigration cases, especially for clients who have experienced trauma. These services are particularly important for immigrants who are seeking status through asylum, U‐visa, T‐visa, VAWA, SIJS and Cancellation of Removal. Immigration legal services providers and mental health experts must work closely together to address clients’ trauma so they can advocate for themselves in the complex immigration system.

The Goal

The need for supporting mental health care for low-income immigrants is critical, and the need is particularly great for immigrants who have experienced the traumatic impacts of detention. The Collaborative has worked to develop resources to increase capacity for forensic evaluations by providing training to clinicians and attorneys and connecting local attorneys with local clinicians through our online directory.

The Need

A high-quality forensic evaluation is often the difference between winning and losing a case. Between 2000 and 2004, 89% of 1,663 asylum seekers won their case after receiving medical evaluations from Physicians for Human Rights (a national organization that supports pro bono clinicians) compared to the national average of 37.5% among US asylum seekers who did not receive PHR evaluations. Agencies also indicated that many of their clients could be more effectively represented legally if clients were in regular counseling to help them heal from past trauma, particularly those with a humanitarian‐based case. MORE