A sports medicine doctor who says she is volunteering on the front lines in New York during the coronavirus epidemic was denied a green card to be in the United States, she told CNN.
Julia Iafrate, an assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center who immigrated from Canada, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that she has lived in the United States for 13 years, completing a residency program and fellowship and getting a job in her field. She is one of the team physicians for the USA Ski Team and Columbia University Athletics, according to the university’s website.
“I was blindsided,” she said. “I was flabbergasted, and so was my immigration lawyer and so was my chair of my department and everyone else involved in this case. They ask you to be an expert in your field … and I am, and I’ve proven that time and time again.”
Iafrate, who plans to appeal the decision, told Cuomo that she feels helpless.
“I don’t know what I could have done better,” she said. “I don’t know what I could have done any differently. I’m putting my life on the line every day to do this.”
President Trump has increasingly tied the pandemic to the need to tighten borders, out of concern for spread of the virus and loss of jobs. He has previously said he wants to suspend all immigration to the country.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told CNN that it does not comment on decisions related to individual cases.