A New York doctor who’s been treating coronavirus patients says she’s still reeling days after getting a devastating letter: Her green card application was denied.
“I’m putting my life on the line every day to do this, and it’s just blowing my mind right now that they are not appreciating it or they don’t see the value in what I’m offering to do,” Dr. Julia Iafrate told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday. “I’m honestly beside myself. It’s like a slap in the face.”
Iafrate is an assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center who specializes in sports medicine. But she says she wanted to volunteer to work on the front lines as coronavirus cases spiked in her city.
“Because I’m a doctor,” Iafrate said, “because that’s what I do, because I know that I can help.”
Iafrate, who immigrated to the United States from Canada, says she’s lived in the US for 13 years, completing a residency program at the Mayo Clinic and a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Iowa. For almost three years, she’s been working at the Columbia University Medical Center. And she’s been a team physician for the USA Ski Team and Columbia University Athletics, according to a profile on the medical center’s website.
Several days ago, Iafrate says she heard from US Citizenship and Immigration Services that her green card application had been denied.
“I was blindsided. I was flabbergasted, and so was my immigration lawyer and so was my chair of my department and everyone else involved in this case,” she said. “They ask you to be an expert in your field … and I am. I’ve proven that time and time again….”