Policies and Procedures
At this time, the Asylum Network is only able to provide evaluations for asylum seekers who have legal representation – some exceptions may be made for clients receiving pro se support if requesting medical evaluations. If you are seeking an evaluation for competency, humanitarian parole, or if your client is seeking an alternative type of humanitarian immigration status (e.g. VAWA, SJV, U-Visa, T-Visa, etc.) please contact the Asylum Network Coordinator at email@example.com before submitting your request – our current capacity to do these types of evaluations is limited. Please also note that we are unable to evaluate clients who have been convicted of violent crimes in the US.
Evaluation requests must be submitted by the representing attorney or legal team. The Asylum Network is unable to accept evaluation requests submitted by the asylum seeker/applicant, family member, or community representative. Evaluation requests submitted by pro-bono or low-bono legal representatives will be prioritized.
We cannot accept referrals that do not include the submission of a signed release of information and a full draft of the applicant’s case declaration. Please email this information via a secure platform to firstname.lastname@example.org in addition to any medical and mental health records, police reports, or other available documents that may be relevant for the evaluation.
HIPAA & Security
The Asylum Network uses encryption software when emailing documents and protected health information. Virtu is a free encryption software that is available for public use, and we ask that you use this or another HIPAA compliant system when sending documents that contain private client information. For more information about Virtu, please see https://www.virtru.com/secure-email/.
All evaluations are conducted by volunteer clinicians and health providers who donate their expertise and time. Given the significant impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent public health restrictions on all aspects of our lives, it may take longer than normal for our volunteer evaluators to complete an affidavit. If there are any changes to your client’s case and deadlines, please contact us immediately at (502) 369-0292. We cannot guarantee that an evaluation will be completed within the requested time frame, and our volunteer evaluators reserve the right to decline or retract their evaluations and findings at any time.
Evaluations for Detainees
We recognize the significant need for evaluations for detainees at the Eloy Detention Center and La Palma Correctional Center, and we are actively exploring ways in which we can safely resume detention-based evaluations. At this time, we are currently unable to provide remote psychological evaluations for detainees, although we may be able to arrange a limited number of urgent in-person medical evaluations.
Evaluation Logistics and Expectations
It is the responsibility of the referring law firm to coordinate independent interpretation for all evaluations – the interpreter cannot be a family member or close friend of the client. Volunteer evaluators reserve the right to end an evaluation early if they find the interpretation to be unsatisfactory. If you do not have the resources to coordinate interpretation, please contact the Asylum Network Coordinator to discuss options.
Once an evaluation appointment is confirmed, it is up to the attorney to ensure that the applicant arrives on time to the appointment. If the applicant needs to reschedule the assessment, we ask that they notify the Asylum Network Coordinator at least 24 hours in advance. We also ask that the applicant call (520) 369-0292 and let the Asylum Network Coordinator know as soon as possible if they are running late for the appointment.
In consideration of our volunteer evaluators’ limited time and availability, in addition to considerable fees that may be associated with canceled interpretation requests, we may not be able to reschedule missed evaluations. If an applicant misses a rescheduled appointment, other applicants in the queue will be given precedent to ensure that others can be supported.
Affidavit Review Process
Draft and Feedback Expectations
Completion of an evaluation appointment does not guarantee that the volunteer evaluator will draft an affidavit. Volunteers reserve the right to decline or retract their affidavits at any point.
In an effort to maintain the independence and integrity of the evaluations, we ask that no sentences or information be directly added into the affidavit text by anyone other than the evaluator. This being said, conscientious feedback is encouraged. We ask, however, that all questions and recommendations be clearly indicated with appropriate context given so that the volunteer evaluators can adequately assess the suggestions. Volunteer evaluators have the right to accept or decline any recommendations in accordance with their clinical and ethical judgment.
After the assessment, volunteer evaluators typically need at least ten business days to draft their affidavit. We ask that you also respond with any feedback, edit suggestions, etc. within ten business days. This will help ensure that the evaluators are able to respond to questions, sign/finalize documents, etc. in a timely manner. Due to the volunteer evaluators’ limited availability, we are unable to accommodate delayed edits or signature requests.
Communication with Evaluators
In an effort to protect the independence and objectivity of our volunteers, we ask that attorneys not directly contact any Asylum Network volunteers without their expressed permission. This includes, but is not limited to: requesting a paid or volunteer evaluation, providing case information, providing feedback on an affidavit, or enquiring about a non-asylum evaluation. We ask that you email all requests, questions, and feedback regarding affidavits or policies to email@example.com; if it is urgent, you may contact the Asylum Network Coordinator at (520) 369-0292.