Dr. Julia Iafrate has been living in the U.S. for 13 years now. Sometime after she immigrated to America from Canada, she completed a residency program at the Mayo Clinic and a sports medicine fellowship at the University of Iowa, according to CNN. For nearly three years, Iafrate has been working at the Colombia University Medical Center and has served as a team physician for the USA Ski Team and Columbia University Athletics.

Despite her long list of accomplishments and the weeks she has dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients, Dr. Iafrate ran into an issue many other immigrants find themselves facing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was denied a Green Card.

Although the Green Card Dr. Iafrate applied for requires that she be skilled in her particular field, she told CNN that she is, in fact, an expert. She also confirmed with CNN host Chris Cuomo that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had denied her request simply because she “did not prove that [she] represented any unique value the United States.” But as a doctor who has been working on the frontlines in New York battling the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes she’s quite valuable to the U.S., especially during these unprecedented times.

During an interview with Cuomo a few months back, Dr. Iafrate told the host “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.” She added, “I’m honestly beside myself. It’s like a slap in the face.”

Iafrate says that although the news “blindsided her and her immigration lawyer,” she was going to appeal USCIS’s decision to deny her Green Card application.


Who is eligible to apply for a Green Card through employment?


To be considered as “first preference” for a Green Card, USCIS says you must:

  • Have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics;
  • Are an outstanding professor or researcher, or;
  • Are a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria.


To be considered as a second preference immigrant worker, you must:

  • Be a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree;
  • Have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or;
  • Are seeking a national interest waiver


Although USCIS has laid out the eligibility criteria for obtaining a Green Card through employment, the agency appears to be denying Green Card applications even when the eligibility criteria are met. If your Green Card application was denied and you currently residing in Texas, TX immigration attorney J. Joseph Cohen can help you appeal USCIS’s decision. If you haven’t yet applied for a Green Card but intend on doing so in the near future, remember to contact the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen so a skilled Texas immigration lawyer can ensure all forms are filled out correctly.


You can reach the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen at:


310 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 2100

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Phone: 210-503-2800

Website: www.jjosephcohen.com


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