Participate | Attorneys: Request a Forensic Evaluation

Receive a pro bono medical/psychological evaluation of your client

Declarations Project

Working in a rapid-response capacity, our Asylum Program’s Declaration Project has provided support for litigation aimed at the release of people from immigration detention since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project has also mobilized medical school asylum clinics across the United States to support these cases. To submit a request for an expert declaration for a plaintiff from one of PHR’s Asylum Network members, and/or a medical school asylum clinic, please contact asylum@phr.org.

In your initial email to us, please include:

  • Detention center name
  • Deadline by when you would need the completed declaration from the expert
  • Name of filing
  • Number of plaintiffs
  • Status of plaintiff medical records

PHR Process for Matching Clinicians with Asylum Cases

More than 1,500 health professionals in the Asylum Network at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) offer pro bono psychological and physical evaluations to document evidence of torture and other abuse for men and women fleeing persecution in their home countries. In order to request an evaluation, please fill out the forensic evaluation request form.

  • Case Screening: PHR screens all new cases for potential fit with the PHR Asylum Network of volunteer evaluators.
  • Volunteer Outreach: PHR emails local case options to volunteer evaluators regularly. Evaluators reply with their interest in a case.
  • Case Placement: PHR confirms evaluator case placement, and provides attorney with evaluator contact information.
  • Scheduling: The asylum client’s attorney contacts the volunteer evaluator to schedule an evaluation for the asylum client.
  • Evaluation: The evaluation occurs at a location convenient for the volunteer evaluator; the volunteer’s office or – if the client is detained – at the detention center.
  • Affidavit (testimony possible): The volunteer evaluator writes up the evidence gathered in the form of an affidavit for use during the asylum trial. Oral testimony is sometimes requested.
  • Asylum Case Outcome: The attorney submits an outcome report to PHR, to help us evaluate the impact of and promote our work.

This form needs to reach PHR at least eight weeks before the affidavit is required. Due to the heavy demand for forensic evaluations, PHR cannot guarantee securing an evaluation for every case. The probability that your case will be placed increases with advance notice. 

You will be responsible for contacting the health professional and making an appointment for your client. You also will be responsible for securing an interpreter if your client needs one for the evaluation.

Prior to the evaluation, you’ll need to provide the health professional with a copy of your client’s affidavit, prior medical records, and any other relevant information.

If the evaluator determines that the physical or psychological evidence are consistent with your client’s account of torture or persecution, he or she will prepare an affidavit to submit to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). It is important to maintain close contact with the health professional to make sure that any issues or questions are addressed in a timely fashion.

Once the case is completed, please inform both the health professional and PHR of the case outcome. We are eager to hear about successes, and we need to hear about disappointments so we can continue to evaluate the program, update funders regarding the value of their contributions, and make adjustments as needed. Please do not hesitate to call 646.564.3720 or email asylum@phr.org with any questions or concerns.