NEW YORK - A physician at Columbia University Medical Center who had been denied a green card as she battled on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak says her petition to remain in the country has been approved.
"I am beyond ecstatic to share the amazing news," wrote Dr. Julia Iafrate on her Instagram page Thursday. "After USCIS graciously reopened my case last week, my National Interest Waiver was approved today! I’m so incredibly happy that I can go back to work taking care of the people of #nyc. "
Dr. Iafrate, who hails from Canada, spoke with FOX 5 NY morning program, 'Good Day New York,' earlier this week about her "shock" discovering that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had originally denied her application.
With the petition approved, Dr. Iafrate is now one step closer to receiving a green card which grants the holder permission to stay in the United States.
“The second part is based on the I-485 adjustment of status to be considered a permanent resident, and we are hoping this portion will be approved in the coming weeks," said Dr. Iafrate.
Good Day NY co-anchor Rosanna Scotto highlighted Dr. Iafrate's story.
"Thank you everyone for seeing my worth and supporting my dreams. I’m so happy to finally say I’m home," said Dr. Iafrate.
During her time treating coronavirus patients, Dr. Iafrate has helped build inpatient rehabilitation units, essential to enable patients to eventually return home safely.
"The second phase of COVID is going to be helping people get back to some semblance of normal. There are people intubated for 30 days. We need to work together to improve the rehabilitation of these people," said Dr. Iafrate.