Deported or undocumented Illinois nurses might gain some hope for their cases after a California woman who had been deported was allowed to return on an H-1B visa. The woman and her husband were both undocumented immigrants who had lived and worked in the U.S. for two decades, had three U.S.-citizen children and one with DACA status, and had no criminal records. Despite the fact that they were working on work visas and had checked into the USCIS regularly, they were both deported in Aug. 2017 under Trump’s immigration crackdown. The woman, an oncology nurse, was recently allowed to return to the U.S. with an H-1B visa.
Little-Known Waiver Enables Nurse’s Return
Normally, people who are deported are not able to return to the U.S. The woman had worked in the U.S. as a highly-skilled oncology nurse before she was deported. She and her husband had tried to get green cards for years, but their applications were denied by immigration judges. While the denials were subsequently overturned on appeals, they were given 90 days to leave the country by an immigration officer in 2017.
Normally, people like this nurse would be ineligible for H-1B visas. The woman had multiple strikes, including illegally crossing the border with her eldest daughter, living in the country for more than 20 years as an undocumented immigrant, and having a deportation order. However, she applied for a waiver of the strikes against her at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. Her employer, a hospital in California, sponsored her for an H-1B visa. She met with a consular officer in Mexico, and the officer recommended that she should be approved for the waiver on the basis of being a highly skilled worker. She was granted the waiver and the H-1B visa. The nurse arrived back in the U.S. in Dec. 2018 and resumed her work at the hospital.
Unfortunately, the woman’s husband had to remain in Mexico. She will need to renew her H-1B visa in three years. The hospital at which she worked stated that it hoped to extend her visa for the 10-year period that she must wait before applying for an adjustment of status.