A nurse who was deported and later won back her right to return to the United States should serve as an inspiration to people seeking work visas for nurses after getting removed under harsh immigration policies. The undocumented nurse, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, had been deported under Trump’s hardline immigration policies in 2017. After winning a ticket in a visa lottery, she was granted a waiver and allowed to return to the U.S. Her story shows that undocumented nurses may have a way to return to the U.S. or to remain by getting a waiver and a visa for highly skilled workers.
Deportation of Maria Mendoza-Sanchez
Maria Mendoza-Sanchez entered the U.S. illegally with her husband and young child in 1994. She lived in the country without documentation since that time. She and her husband had three more children who are U.S. citizens. Her oldest child is protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Mendoza-Sanchez worked her way through nursing school and became an oncology nurse. Before Trump was elected, she had been granted work permits every six months so she could remain in the U.S. However after Trump was elected, Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband were deported. Three of her children remained in the U.S. Her youngest initially moved to Mexico but later returned to the U.S.
Mendoza-Sanchez fought for 17 months to return to the U.S. While she was in Mexico, she applied for a visa for highly skilled workers but because she had originally entered the U.S. illegally, she had to get a waiver of inadmissibility before she could return.
Waiver of Inadmissibility
Mendoza-Sanchez applied for a waiver at the U.S. Consular Office in Mexico. She was granted the waiver after her story became national news. Her employer was willing to sponsor her and multiple politicians fought on her behalf. Her application for a work visa was approved by USCIS and she was finally reunited with her family.
There is a shortage of nurses at hospitals across the nation. Mendoza-Sanchez’s story demonstrates that undocumented immigrants who are nurses or other highly skilled workers might have an avenue to legally work and to remain in the country. While Mendoza-Sanchez attracted national attention and the backing of politicians when she was deported, others may also be able to follow a similar path. Similarly-situated people might want to investigate highly skilled work visas and the potential to secure waivers of inadmissibility.