Requesting asylum and other forms of immigration protection is arduous at best. Most will be turned away before they can even apply, and the grant rate for asylum applicants is very low, especially near the southern border. One reason people lose their asylum case is that they must prove that they have been persecuted. Physical scars may be obvious, but emotional scars are not, and many flee home with no evidence of the dangers they faced, other than their stories and trauma symptoms. Individuals who have a legitimate claim for protection are often unable to establish their cases without corroborating evidence from mental health professionals trained in detecting and documenting trauma.
H.O.M.E. was created in response to requests from immigration attorneys who need trauma experts to objectively provide psychological evaluations for asylum seekers and other survivors of human rights abuses.
In creating a bridge between migrant trauma survivors and the legal system, H.O.M.E. clinicians make the asylum process more trauma-informed and therefore, fairer to the very people who need protection the most.
Trauma can interfere with testimony and impact a survivor’s ability to explain their experiences to authority figures. When a licensed clinician documents a migrant's trauma and emotional needs, officials can see their situation more clearly and these decision-makers are less likely to deny cases for the wrong reasons.
H.O.M.E. is Texas based, closely engaged with changing policies, and responds quickly to needs in migrant camps or ICE detention centers.
H.O.M.E. also advocates for immigration policies that promote – rather than harm – emotional health. We are sometimes the only mental health presence in discussions with policymakers and federal agencies. We identify harmful practices such as family separation, solitary confinement, or inadequate credible fear interviews, and we call on government leaders to do better.