Focus Areas | Asylum and Persecution

Global conflicts, civil wars, and injustice have driven immigration to an all-time high since 1990. Seeking asylum from persecution is a human right.

Tens of thousands of people seek safety through the complex and restrictive U.S. immigration process each year. But survivors of torture, domestic abuse, trafficking, and other forms of persecution often have nothing more than their own words to substantiate their claims to asylum.

A clinician can provide critical help by conducting a forensic medical evaluation of an asylum seeker that can document compelling evidence of physical and psychological trauma. When submitted with an application for asylum or another form of immigration protection, these evaluations can make the difference between a person being granted safe haven in the United States and being forcibly returned to the very country where they were persecuted or harmed.

For more than 30 years, volunteer health and mental health professionals in PHR’s Asylum Network have provided such evaluations to survivors of torture and ill-treatment who seek refuge and an opportunity to recover in the United States from the trauma and injury they have endured.

Amidst the recent U.S. administration’s crackdown on immigrants and asylum seekers, PHR also researches and calls attention to the catastrophic human toll of U.S. immigration policies and advocates for the United States to honor its obligations under domestic and international human rights law.

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