Immigration Lawyers

in Riverside, California

The immigration attorneys at Fontes Law Group are aware of the stress and anxiety that foreign nationals may face while attempting to reunite their families or obtain a significant benefit during the immigration process. We are here to support and assist you through this challenging time. Consequently, we prioritize keeping our clients informed about the status of their cases, effectively communicating important details to them, and applying our expertise to effectively prepare their cases.

Immigration Lawyers in Riverside and Santa Ana, California

Top Immigration Lawyers

Martin C. Fontes heads our Family-Immigration practice and has extensive experience representing immigrants and their families. His team of immigration attorneys, with a total of over 20 years of experience collectively, handles all types of Family-Based Immigration cases.

Immigration Law Services

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Immigrant visa petitions for spouses, children, siblings, and parents.

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Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions

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Adjustment of Status

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

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Consular Processing

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Asylum

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I-601/I-601A Hardship Waivers

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I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. after Deportation or Removal

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Naturalization

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K-1 Fiancée Visas

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K-3 Spouse Visas

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B-2 Visitor Visas

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U-Visas

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I-751 Petitions to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence

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Motions to Reopen

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Appeals

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VAWA

Meet Our Immigration Lawyers

Martin C. Fontes

Martin C. Fontes

Managing Partner/Founder

Catherine J. Navarro

Catherine J. Navarro

Partner

Victor Franco

Victor Franco

Of Counsel

Immigration Lawyers in California

In the United States, immigration law governs the rules and regulations for foreign nationals seeking to enter and remain in the country, as well as the process for naturalization for those who wish to become U.S. citizens. It also covers the procedures for immigration detention and removal for foreign nationals who overstay their visas, lose their legal status, or enter the country without authorization.

If you are a foreign national looking to come to the U.S. for living or working purposes, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident seeking to bring immediate family members to the U.S., an employer seeking to hire foreign nationals, a migrant with a credible fear of harm if returned to your home country, or an undocumented immigrant facing deportation proceedings, the skilled immigration attorneys at Fontes Law Group can help. Our team of experienced California immigration lawyers in Riverside has a combined total of over 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of immigrants and is prepared to assist you in understanding your rights and case.

U.S. Immigration Law

According to the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress has the exclusive power to pass immigration laws. The Immigration and Nationality Act and other relevant immigration laws can be found in U.S.C. Title 8.

As per the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the federal government has a yearly limit of 675,000 visas for permanent immigrants across all categories, with the exception of children under 21, parents, and spouses of U.S. citizens. The U.S. president must also determine the annual number of refugees that can be admitted to the country after consulting with Congress.

Individuals who are granted immigrant visas will become lawful permanent residents when they arrive in the U.S. There are also specific categories of non-immigrant visas that may allow individuals already in the U.S. to apply for an adjustment of status to obtain green cards. Lawful permanent residents are permitted to permanently reside in the U.S. and work in most occupations. After living in the U.S. for a certain period, they can apply to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Many foreign nationals are also admitted to the U.S. temporarily with non-immigrant visas. These visas are available for tourists, students, and certain types of workers.

Family-Based Immigration

Family-based immigration provides a way for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to bring close family members to the U.S. Immigrants arriving in the U.S. with a family-based immigration visa may be admitted as either the immediate family members of U.S. citizens or through the country’s family preference system.

The immediate family members of U.S. citizens include:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years old
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years old or older

There are no limits on the number of visas available for the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, but they must meet the normal eligibility criteria and the U.S. citizens must meet specific financial criteria.

The family preference system has a cap on the annual number of available visas. Eligible family members in this category include:

  • U.S. citizen’s adult children and siblings
  • Spouses of lawful permanent residents
  • Children of lawful permanent residents

The annual cap for the family preference system varies. It is calculated by subtracting the number of visas issued for immediate relatives and aliens who were paroled into the U.S. during the previous year from 480,000, which is the maximum allowed. Unused employment-preference visas from the previous year are added to determine the total number of family preference visas. The annual number of family preference visas must be at least 226,000.

U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents must petition on behalf of their family members and sign affidavits of support indicating that they will be financially responsible for them. The relatives must also meet the eligibility requirements.

Employment-Based Visas

Many U.S. employers rely on foreign nationals to fill positions for which they cannot find enough U.S. workers. Immigrants with valuable skills may be able to come to the U.S. to work temporarily or permanently with employment-based visas.

Employers are allowed to petition the government to hire foreign nationals to fill specific jobs temporarily. There are several different types of temporary non-immigrant visas, including:

  • H-1B visas
  • H-2A visas
  • H-2B visas
  • L visas
  • O visas
  • P visas
  • Q-1 visas

These visas allow foreign nationals to stay in the U.S. and work for an employer for a specific duration. However, certain types of non-immigrant visas, such as H-1B visas, are renewable and allow employers to petition on behalf of employees to adjust their status to lawful permanent residents.

In addition to temporary employment visas, there are also permanent employment visas that are capped at 140,000 per year, including both immigrants and their spouses and minor children. Unused family preference visas from the previous year are added to the cap, and the total is then divided into five employment preference categories. Some of the employment preference categories allow foreign nationals to self-petition while others require employers to test the market under conditions established by the U.S. Department of Labor before they can petition to sponsor foreign nationals.

The five preference categories include:

  • EB-1 visas: individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, athletics, business, or education; outstanding researchers or professors; certain multinational executives
  • EB-2 visas: individuals with advanced degrees and those with exceptional abilities
  • EB-3 visas: skilled professionals
  • EB-4 visas: special immigrants
  • EB-5 visas: immigrant investors

If you are an individual with exceptional or extraordinary abilities or an employer seeking to sponsor a foreign national to work in the U.S., consider consulting with the immigration attorneys at Fontes Law Group in Riverside, California.

Asylum and Refugee Status

Refugees are individuals who have credible and well-founded fears of persecution based on their religion, race, political beliefs, national origin, or membership in a social group if they are forced to return to their home countries. They apply for refugee status from outside the U.S., typically while in a different country outside their country of origin. Petitions for refugee status are evaluated based on various factors, such as whether they have family members in the U.S., the level of risk they face, and whether they belong to a group of special concern.

The number of refugees who can be admitted to the U.S. is determined each year by the president after consulting with Congress. The ceiling for the number of refugees who can be admitted has significantly decreased over the past 20 years, and the actual number of refugees admitted is often lower than the established ceiling for the year.

Individuals already present in the U.S. who need to seek protection based on the same categories established for refugees can apply for asylum. They can apply at a port of entry when seeking admission to the U.S. or within one year of their arrival. There is no cap on the number of asylees allowed each year.

Both asylees and refugees can petition for lawful permanent resident status one year after receiving asylum or being granted admission as refugees.

Humanitarian Relief

The U.S. immigration system offers several forms of humanitarian relief, including:

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS): available to individuals who are present in the U.S. but unable to return to their countries of origin due to ongoing conflict, natural disasters, or extraordinary temporary conditions. TPS is granted to individuals from specified countries for periods ranging from six to 18 months, and may be extended if conditions in their home country remain unsafe. TPS recipients can remain in the U.S. and obtain employment authorization documents (EADs).
  • Deferred Enforced Departure (DED): protects individuals from deportation when their countries are unstable and dangerous, and is granted at the discretion of the government.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): established under former President Barack Obama, allows individuals brought to the U.S. when they were younger than 16 and who have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 to remain in the U.S. and work for two or more years if they meet the eligibility criteria. The Trump administration attempted to end DACA, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2020 that the way it tried to do so was illegal. A Texas federal judge ruled that DACA was unlawful, but the Biden administration has appealed the decision and is currently still accepting applications (although it cannot grant new applications until the case is resolved).

Naturalization

Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, or who obtained their green cards through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or as the spouse of a U.S. citizen and have lived in the U.S. for at least three years, may be eligible to apply for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. Members of the military who served during a time of war or declared hostilities may also apply for naturalization. To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, an individual must be at least 18 years old, have continuously resided in the U.S., demonstrate good moral character, pass an exam on U.S. history, civics, and English, and meet other requirements.

Removal Defense

The government has the authority to detain undocumented immigrants and those who have violated the terms of their visas and hold them for removal proceedings. If you are removed from the U.S., you may be subject to a bar of admissibility for up to 10 years or longer. It is crucial to seek assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer if you are facing removal proceedings, as they may be able to help you seek a waiver of inadmissibility or explore other potential options.

 

Reasonable, Flat-Fees With Payment Plans Available

While processing these cases, Fontes Law Group in Riverside, California offers skilled immigration legal services to clients across the United States and around the world.

We quote reasonable fees for our Family-Based Immigration matters. They are accepted on a flat-fee basis, and payment plans are available. Our sophisticated, efficient, affordable, and client-centered services separate us from other firms as we help our clients achieve their immigration goals.

If you need any type of help with immigration matters, you should speak to the attorneys at the Fontes Law Group. We handle all types of immigration issues and can help you understand your best options for how to proceed. Our attorneys have a combined total of more than 20 years of experience, and we have represented thousands of immigrants successfully. To learn more about your immigration case and the help we can provide, schedule a consultation with the Fontes Law Group today.

References

[1] U.S.C. tit. 8.
[2] 8 U.S.C. § 1151.
[3] https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-eligibility/green-card-for-employment-based-immigrants

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