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Legal/Court Related

We offer several legal and court-related services, including:

  • Court Psychological Evaluations

  • Expert Witness Services

  • Immigration Evaluations

To learn more about our team of expert witnesses and their areas of expertise, visit the Our Experts page. See below for more information about immigration evaluations.

 

Immigration Evaluations

We offer immigration evaluation services for people applying for immigration or asylum in the United States.

 

What is Asylum?

Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” The U.S. Congress incorporated this definition of refugee into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980.

 

Benefits of Asylum

A person granted asylum is protected from being returned to his or her home country and is authorized to work in the United States. They may apply for a Social Security card, may request permission to travel overseas, and can petition to bring family members to the United States. Asylees may also be eligible for certain benefits, such as Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.

After one year, an asylee may apply for lawful permanent resident status (i.e., a green card). Once the individual becomes a permanent resident, he or she must wait four years to apply for citizenship.

 

Asylum Application Process

There are two primary ways in which a person may apply for asylum in the United States: the affirmative process or the defensive process.

Affirmative Asylum

A person who is not in the removal proceedings may affirmatively apply for asylum through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).To apply for asylum in the United States and withholding of removal (formerly called "withholding of deportation"), you may file a 1-589 form. You may file for asylum if you are physically in the United States and are not a United States citizen.

For more information or to apply: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-process

If the USCIS asylum officer does not grant the asylum application and the applicant does not have lawful immigration status, he or she is referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings. He or she may renew the request for asylum through the defensive process and appear before an immigration judge.

Defensive Process

A person who is in removal proceedings may apply for asylum defensively by applying with an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in the Department of Justice. In other words, asylum is applied for “as a defense against removal from the U.S.” Unlike the criminal court system, EOIR does not provide appointed counsel for individuals in immigration court, even if they cannot retain an attorney on their own.

With or without counsel, an asylum seeker has the burden of proving that he or she meets the definition of a refugee. Asylum seekers often provide substantial evidence throughout the affirmation and defensive process demonstrating either past persecution or that they have “well-founded fear” of future persecution in their home county. However, the individual’s testimony is usually critical to his or her asylum determination.

Certain factors bar individuals from an asylum. With limited exceptions, individuals who fail to apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States will be barred from an asylum.

I-601 Forms

If you are inadmissible to the United States and are seeking an immigrant visa, adjustment of status, certain nonimmigrant statuses or certain other immigration benefits, you must file this form to seek a waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility.