Julie Cyphers, Attorney and Affirmative Relief Legal Director
Office: Dream Center, Santa Rosa, CA
Julie has practiced immigration law since 2008, specializing in affirmative cases including immigrant petitions, consular processing, waivers of inadmissibility, adjustment of status, VAWA, U Visas, DACA, naturalization, and citizenship. Ms. Cyphers earned a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies with Honors from California State University, Chico in 1998. She was a research assistant at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at UC Hastings School of Law in 2002, and earned a Certificate in Legal Studies from Durham University in England in 2003. She graduated from Empire College of Law in December 2007 with a Juris Doctorate.
Ms. Cyphers founded the Immigration Law Clinic at Empire College of Law in 2009. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Sonoma County Bar Association. She speaks Spanish and Mandarin.
Yolanda G. Solano, Removal Defense Staff Attorney
Office: B Street, Santa Rosa, CA and Petaluma, CA
Yolanda received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Planning from Sonoma State University in 2000 and a Juris Doctor from Empire College School of Law in 2010.
She worked as land use planner for the County of Sonoma for 17 years before joining VIDAS. While working for Sonoma County she also represented unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings under the County’s Pro Bono County Legal Services Project for Unaccompanied Minors, January 2015 to February 2019.
In 2019, she joined VIDAS legal services team as staff attorney, focusing on removal defense. Previous, she served as a member of the VIDAS Board of Directors from 2015 to 2019. She was also a member of the Committee for Immigration Rights of Sonoma County, 2013-2015.
Oscar Rojas-Fuentes, Removal Defense Staff Attorney
Office: Vallejo, CA
Having been born in Mexico has inspired Oscar to help others in seeking a better life outside of their native countries. He enjoys watching sports, especially futbol soccer from all over the world. Being outdoors with family and friends enjoying nature is one of his favorite pastimes.
Oscar is an immigration attorney working at the Vallejo Office. He represents many clients in all types of immigration petitions, especially in removal defense for those seeking humanitarian relief under the law.
Bernice Espinoza, Removal Defense Staff Attorney
Office: B Street, Santa Rosa
Bernice specializes in issues that arise from the intersection of criminal and immigration law (crim imm). Previously, she worked in the Sonoma County and Riverside County Public Defender’s offices for over a decade, where she created and oversaw the Crim Imm program.
Bernice has her law degree from UC Berkeley. As a student, she participated in the California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC), providing representation at all stages of asylum application process for refugees and worked at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).
Bernice’s lifelong dedication to social justice has led her to activism, advocacy, her career in law, and even poetry - all of which center on the social justice issues close to her heart (particularly immigration, racial justice and criminal justice reform). Bernice has been writing since she was 11 years old and has three published poems! She derives her purpose from her faith and the community she serves. Her belief that she can always try to use her educational privilege and resources to serve others is what sustains her through challenging times.
Ricardo Elorza, Staff Attorney
Office: Napa Valley College
Ricardo handles all aspects of immigration law including complex issues involving adjustment of status, naturalization, U Visas, VAWA, DACA, TPS, unlawful presence, consular processing, changes of nonimmigrant status, employment authorization, and T visas. Ricardo has gained a reputation among his peers and the community for thinking outside the box and his relentless advocacy.
Ricardo’s interest in immigration law arose in 2002 when he began fighting for immigrant rights. His journey got him involved in several pro-immigrant non-profits in Los Angeles, as well as student advocacy groups in college that sought the passage of the DREAM Act and overall comprehensive immigration reform.
Ricardo attended UCLA and later Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Currently, he prides himself in helping his clients by thinking about creative solutions to their legal problems and always practicing empathy. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering, spending time with his wife, going to the beach and being outdoors.