WHAT IS AN ASYLUM SEEKER?
An asylum seeker is defined as a person who flees his/her home country, enters another country and seeks asylum. He/she is unwilling or unable to return to home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group, or political opinion.”
Asylum seekers—who often arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs—bear the full burden of proving to immigration judges that they have a “well-founded fear” that they would face persecution, or worse, if returned to their home countries.
WHAT IS A FORENSIC EVALUATION?
Forensic evaluations introduce reliable evidence of trauma or torture into the proceedings, supporting the validity of asylum seekers’ claims. Evaluations involve physical and/or psychological examinations by health professionals, resulting in written affidavits assessing the consistency of applicants’ physical scars and psychological conditions with their reported history of trauma. Immigration lawyers then use these medical-legal affidavits as evidence in their cases to represent and advocate for clients. Forensic evaluations make a determinative difference in case outcomes, and immigration attorneys often cite them as one of the most important aspects of building successful cases. There is enormous demand for this evidence by immigration attorneys.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
First step for processing an asylum case is to submit an official request for an evaluation via our request form.
Please make sure the case has an affidavit from the client that can be shared to our team at the time of case submission.
The case request form contains questions about evaluator preferences--if you are a lawyer submitting on behalf of your client, please make sure these responses reflect their preferences. We try our best to consider these to make for the best experience on both sides.
Once the request is received, our team will work on matching you with the proper evaluation team.
Our team will then reach out to schedule with your client and, if needed, an interpreter.
This process may take some time so we request that you submit your case as soon as the need for an evaluation has been identified.
Next, the evaluation team will conduct the appropriate amount of in-person and/or video sessions to gather information needed for a medical affidavit.
Once the affidavit has been written, the team will reach back out to the lawyer and provide them with all the necessary information.
NOTE: This process may take up to 6 weeks from the initial request to the time the medical affidavit is complete since some cases may require multiple sessions with the client to ensure their comfort.
MORE INFO & RESOURCES
Interested in learning more about asylum seekers or seeing what resources are available? Visit the following links:
Central Massachusetts Community Resources (via Worcester Free Clinic Collaborative)