OUR MAIN OFFICE
IMPORTA's main office is located near the intersection of East Carrillo Street and Santa Barbara Street in downtown Santa Barbara. It contains a reception area, private offices, and a conference room as well as a large room available for meetings and audio-visual presentations, and secured areas for central records storage and for supplies.
The four-person staff is responsible not only for case intakes in the Santa Barbara area but also for back-office processing of cases submitted from satellite offices and from numerous off-site events and workshops.
Hours: Mon. Tues. Wed. Th. 2:30-6:00 and by appointment
Tel: (805) 604-5060
The U.S. Department of Justice which regulates the practice of immigration law has recently authorized IMPORTA to practice immigration law from satellite offices Lompoc and Santa Maria in Santa Barbara's North County. This rich agricultural area extending from the Santa Inez Valley wine country north through southern San Luis County is home to hundreds of thousands of low-income, underserved immigrants who for decades have been victimized by practitioners (legal and illegal) who frequently engage in price gouging and incompetent and outright fraud costing poor agricultural workers millions of dollars a year and not infrequently leading to unnecesary deportations.
More than 80% of Santa Maria's 107,000 population are first or second generation immigrants. Many are low-wage indigenous farm workers from the state of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. The immigrant population lacks political power and faces intimidation from anti-immigrant "Minutemen" and a strong ICE presence. But our focus is to break the near-monopoly of "notarios" (unauthorized consultants) and various exploitative authorized providers. Fortunately, we have many allies among other organizations that serve the local immigrant population and welcome a change.
Hours: Mon. Wed. Fri 2:00-6:00 and by appointment
Tel: (805) 453-0609 or (805) 604-5060
Lompoc, Santa Barbara County's third largest city, is the site of a federal prison and Vandenburg Air Force base. It is very conservative and has its own city jail. There is extensive police cooperation with the local ICE office that has resulted in a high deportation rate. Although it is only 30 minutes by highway from Santa Maria, poor public transportation makes it essential to have separate offices to serve the large immigrant population of the area.
Hours: Mon. Tues. Wed. 2:00-6:00 and by appointment
Tel: (805) 886-2199 or (805) 604-5060
Ventura and Los Angeles County
IMPORTA holds regular education and outreach events in Ventura County which is home to a large population of immigrants. Although on paper Ventura County is well-served with legal providers of immigration services, our Santa Barbara office receives many complaints of high fees and poor legal work. As a result we are seeing increasing numbers of clients from both Ventura and Los Angeles Counties (and sometimes from Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties). Future plans (dependent of financial support) would include opening an office in Ventura to better serve these clients.