Immigration psychologists are mental health professionals who specialize in providing psychological evaluations and testimony for immigration cases. An immigration psychologist provides its services at the recommendation of an immigration attorney.
Immigration psychologists serve as independent medical examiners who provide objective evaluations of an individual’s mental health and well-being for immigration cases. In this role, immigration psychologist may be asked to assess an individual’s mental health, provide a report on their findings, and testify in immigration court. It is important for immigration psychologists serving as experts to maintain a high level of objectivity and to base their assessments and evaluations on established psychological principles and guidelines.
The immigration psychologist can assess the emotional and psychological needs of the immigrant and his family, while the immigration attorney handles the legal issues. The immigration psychologist is not a legal expert and must work only within his area of expertise, without interfering with the legal process. However, the immigration psychologist must have a working knowledge of legal procedures, legal standards, rules of admissibility, and testimony. The immigration psychologist must know legal standards governing the case in order to understand the psycho-legal questions that must be answered during the psychological assessment. The immigration psychologist must understand rules of admissibility to determine whether the testing and procedures used are valid and reliable enough to stand the scrutiny of the court and other experts. The immigration psychologist must understand how to provide testimony as required by the case.
Overall, immigration psychologist are retained at the request of an immigration attorney. Not all cases require the expertise of an immigration psychologist. An immigration psychologist serves as an independent medical examiner who has expertise in the psycho-legal issues that are relevant to a particular case. The psychologist and attorney have a working relationship that must protect the independence of opinion and the objectivity of each professional.