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THE IMMIGRANT STORY

These stories are composites based on the hundreds of immigrants and refugees that the Immigration Psychology Access Team has helped in recent years.

Maria, a U.S. citizen, is the mother of Isabella and Sofiá, both of whom have special needs. Maria also suffers from depression. If her husband Gustavo, who is Guatemalan, cannot remain in the U.S., she won't be able to care for herself and their daughters. Gustavo was picked up by I.C.E. and is being held in a detention center; the family is already suffering intense trauma because of their separation. Psychological assessment of   Maria's depression and the consequences of separation from her husband would support an extreme hardship case and help her husband to apply for legal status.

As members of the Rohingya minority, Akar and his sister Somira fear that, if they are deported back to their home country of Myanmar, they will again be violently persecuted for their faith. Mental health evaluations as part of their respective political asylum cases will outline the persecution, they each could suffer and the resulting mental and psychological harm if they are deported.

Carlos, a 35-year-old gainfully employed construction worker from Mexico, is married to Anna, a US citizen, and they have three young children, all born in the U.S. Anna suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. She requires regular medical care and needs help managing the children. Carlos financially supports the family and looks after their children. However, he does not have legal residence status. If he is deported, his U.S. wife and children will suffer greatly, with no source of income, and no father/husband in the family. A psychological evaluation assessing the extreme hardship that his wife will suffer if he is deported is essential to the success his legal case to remain in this country with his family.

Metok is a Tibetan Monk who was tortured and held captive in China until he managed to escape. After he entered the U.S. as a visitor, he stayed in hiding for two years, afraid of being deported back to his country where he believed he would face certain death. He has finally sought the help of an attorney, who needs documentation of Metok's severe PTSD symptoms to plead his case for asylum.

Sanjay is from India; he was working in a convenience store in Seattle when two criminals entered the store, beat him up, and stole everything from the cash register. Sanjay now suffers from flashbacks, anxiety, headaches and chronic pain in his neck since the attack. He continues to work in the store, living in constant fear. He has sought the help of an attorney, because as the victim of a reported crime in the US, he has the right to petition for legal status. A psychological evaluation is needed to substantiate the mental harm he suffered as a result of this crime.

Rasha, a woman from Syria, has been a victim of domestic violence and trauma in the United States and needs a psychological evaluation as part of her legal application to remain. Staying in the U.S. is essential to both her and to her family: not only will she have access to the survivor services she needs and to close family who live nearby, but she will be able to ensure that her children, who are U.S. citizens, remain safely away from their abusive father.

Immigrants, such as those above, will be helped by an expert psychological evaluation. The Immigration Psychology Access Team will subsidize the cost of the evaluation and ensure that they receive a high-quality assessment. This crucial intervention can dramatically increase these families’ chances of staying together and of receiving the ongoing services and care they need to survive and thrive in safety.