Who am I?
Nelson A. Castillo is an immigration attorney with over 20 years of experience, providing representation to individuals and national and multinational corporations, their employees, and before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), embassies, consulates, and the National Visa Center (NVC) of the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the immigration courts of the U.S. Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
His immigration law office is located in Los Angeles, California, but serves clients throughout the United States and abroad.
Dr. Castillo is admitted to the New York State Bar and is authorized to practice immigration law throughout the United States.
He is a graduate of St. John's University in New York, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in finance with honors, before earning his Juris Doctor.
Dr. Castillo is the author of the book La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Westlake South Neighborhood Council.
Born in El Salvador, he immigrated to the United States in 1981 when he was 11 years old, thanks to the efforts of his mother. Seeking a better life for her two children, she left Nelson when he was just 4 years old, and his sister was 8 years old, with relatives in their native country. She arrived in the United States in 1974 on a tourist visa and remained undocumented.
His mother worked for several years as a housekeeper for a family in New Jersey, through which she obtained permanent residency. The children did not see their mother for 7 years until she was able to regularize their status and bring them legally to the United States.
As a teenager, Nelson faced numerous difficulties, including physical and verbal bullying at school, and adjusting to learning a new language. Not knowing how to handle the situation, he dropped out of school at age 15. As the years passed, he realized the importance of education, and at 18 he decided to go back to school to earn his GED and enter a community college.
Despite the obstacles, Nelson got ahead by working as a gardener, waiter, gasoline server, and house and office cleaner.
Thanks to his dedication, family, and other people who helped him along the way, he overcame obstacles and was able to return to school. At that point, everything changed for the better. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Finance with honors and a Juris Doctor (Doctor in Law) from St. John's University in New York State.
His academic training opened the doors to the job market with governmental entities, prestigious law firms, and multinational companies, before opening his own law office.
Expertise and lectures
Dr. Castillo specializes in the preparation of immigrant and non-immigrant petitions, labor and conditional certification applications, adjustments of status and consular processing applications, family petitions, naturalizations, and applications for temporary protected status.
He also assists corporate clients with issues related to compliance with Form I-9/IRCA and H-1B visa laws to prevent government audits of their businesses.
Dr. Castillo has also successfully represented clients filing appeals to the Administrative Appeals Office.
Due to his vast knowledge and extensive legal experience, Dr. Castillo has made numerous presentations on immigration law at local and national events organized by groups such as the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Author, founder of Inmigración Hoy®, and media presence
Concerned about countless cases of immigrants who are victims of fraud by notaries not authorized to practice law in the U.S., and to combat misinformation about immigration law, he created Inmigración Hoy®, a Spanish-language website that provides up-to-date information on immigration issues, immigrants' rights in the U.S., and links to toll-free hotlines and web pages dedicated to consumer protection. He also writes Consulta Migratoria®, an immigration column for impreMedia.
To provide more information on processes, eligibility, and procedures for obtaining legal status in the U.S., Dr. Castillo wrote the book La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States), published by Penguin in 2013.
Legal analyst and collaborator
Given his legal experience, has been interviewed by several media outlets. Publications include: New York Law Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Denver Post, Hispanic Business, Poder, EFE, La Opinión, REFORMA, La Prensa Gráfica and El Diario de Hoy. Television: CNN, NBC4 LA, CNN en Español, MundoFox, Azteca America, Estrella TV, Spectrum Noticias NY1, NTN 24, Telemundo and Univision. Radio: Which Way, L.A., El Show de Fernando Espuelas, Casos y cosas de la Collins, Neida Sandoval Show, Noticiero Caracol Fin de Semana, La ventana con Pedro Sevcec, Radio Martís' Tempranito de los sábados, and Radio Cadena YSKL Noticias.
Dedicated to his mission of informing the Latino immigrant community, Dr. Castillo has produced and hosted television segments on immigration for Univision's Los Angeles station, Mundofox News and Spectrum News NY1 and started a YouTube channel that gives Spanish speakers immediate access to immigration information.
Relevant organizations in which he has participated
Dr. Castillo is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the St. John's University School of Law Alumni Association.
Dr. Castillo is a former National President and former Chair of the Immigration Law Committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). He has also been a member of the Consular Affairs and Business Issues Lobbying Liaison Committees of the Southern California Chapter of AILA.
Additionally, he has served on the American Bar Association's President's Council on Diversity in the Profession; the International Law and Practice Section of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality, and the New York State Bar Association's Committees on Diversity, Leadership Development, and Membership; the New York State Bar Association's House of Delegates and Real Property Law Section Executive Committee; the Executive Council of the Network of Bar Leaders, Inc.; and the Board of Directors of the Hispanic National Bar Association Foundation.
Dr. Castillo has been a volunteer attorney at the Consulates General of El Salvador and Guatemala in Los Angeles, California where he assisted thousands of Salvadorans and Guatemalans.
Dr. Castillo has been a board member of the Glendale Latino Association, Inc. and co-founder and past President of the Westlake South Neighborhood Council (WSNC) of the City of Los Angeles, which represents the interests of over 30,000 people. Under Dr. Castillo's leadership, the WSNC won a 2015 EmpowerLA Award from the City of Los Angeles.
Community involvement and volunteerism
Despite numerous professional commitments, Dr. Castillo has dedicated thousands of hours of pro bono service to people in need and has advocated for immigration reform in Washington, DC, visiting congressional representatives and participating in marches.
Since 2010, Dr. Castillo has worked on a volunteer basis for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) representing children in immigration court and USCIS. He has also assisted pro bono at legal fairs organized by CARECEN and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Dr. Castillo has trained employees of the Consulate General of El Salvador in Los Angeles, California, and Long Island, New York on the proper way to re-register immigrants for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, effectively assisting over 15,000 individuals. In addition, Dr. Castillo has provided free consultations to over 4,000 immigrants at various consulates in California, New Jersey, and New York.
During his extensive volunteer service, Dr. Castillo discovered a large number of cases of employment discrimination and unfair denial of government social benefits, including driver's licenses, to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. He represented several of these individuals, helping them keep or regain their jobs and obtain much-needed benefits. His efforts led to a change in government policy and the opening of federal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dr. Castillo, who is admitted to practice law in New York State, is a graduate of Nassau Community College and St. John's University, from where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance with honors, before earning his Juris Doctor.
In addition, Dr. Castillo is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility's (HACR) Executive Education Program on Corporate Development; the Project Interchange's Latino Leaders Program in Israel; the Fundación Carolina/Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo's Young Hispanic Leaders Program in Spain; the Los Angeles Police Department's Citizens Police Academy; and the California State University and the City of Los Angeles' Civic University.
Dr. Castillo stands out for following a clear and well-defined work philosophy, which is the secret of his professional success: to treat people as he himself wishes to be treated.
In this way, each client receives the maximum attention and the broadest assistance that the law allows. He is totally sincere and objective when analyzing cases so that the client does not waste time or money, thus looking after people's interests.
His high ethical values in the performance of his duties have meant that he has never had a conflict with a client that has led him into trouble with the bar or government offices. Trust and excellent service is the hallmark of his work.
Recognitions and awards
Dr. Castillo is recognized in Who's Who in America® and Who's Who in American Law®. Hispanic Business magazine named him one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States in 2006.
He has received numerous recognitions from groups such as Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA), the New York City Bar Association, St. John's University School of Law, the Immigration Coalition of New York, the Consulates of El Salvador in Los Angeles and Long Island, the California State Senate and Assembly, the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles City Council and the Office of Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti for his commitment and contributions to the legal profession, as well as for his pro bono assistance to people in need and his community service.