Just Neighbors is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to serving and supporting the immigrant community of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. We foster mutual understanding between immigrants and the larger community in which they live.


The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff and community.


Immigrants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia will be welcomed into the community and take their places as self-sufficient, contributing members of their communities.

History of & Dedication to Providing Legal Assistance

Just Neighbors was founded in 1996 by pastors and attorneys of the United Methodist Church to develop a practical response to the legal challenges that low-income immigrants face in the United States. The organization set out to provide accurate and reliable information and services to the immigrant community. The founders of Just Neighbors recognized the need to assist immigrants of all faiths and nationalities and to treat immigrants with compassion and hospitality.

In 1996, Just Neighbors opened the doors of its main office in Falls Church, Virginia. Two years later, a second office in Herndon, Virginia, was established to provide immigration legal services to the growing immigrant population in western Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County. In 2000, the organization moved its office to Arlington United Methodist Church and then later in September 2008, Just Neighbors moved its location in Falls Church.  In 2017, Just Neighbors moved into its current office in Annandale, Virginia.

Since its inception, Just Neighbors has partnered with other nonprofit organizations, community volunteers, local faith-based groups, and pro bono lawyers that provide services to immigrants. Through its direct and collaborative efforts, Just Neighbors has helped to empower clients and educate the community about current immigration laws and policies.


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Erin McKenney


Erin is a native of Kentucky and graduate of Georgetown College (KY) with a degree in Marketing and Finance.  As Executive Director, Erin manages the business and development aspects of Just Neighbors.  She also connects Just Neighbors to the community through churches, organizations and individuals.  Erin speaks a little Portuguese and Spanish.  Her mission trips through her church (AUMC) have exposed her to a number of immigrants as well as her last job at Safe Haven, feeding the hungry and homeless.  Her extensive travel to places like Mozambique, Brazil, Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean and Central America has allowed her to see the conditions that cause people to emigrate.  Erin is actively involved in Annandale United Methodist Church, where she has served as the Missions chair, and president of the United Methodist Women.  Her favorite thing about Just Neighbors is the passion that the staff, volunteers and board have for what they do every day!

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Dominique Poirier


Dominique has been at Just Neighbors since January, 2008. Dominique served as a staff attorney until July, 2014, when she took over as Director of Legal Services. Dominique also serves as one of the national Consulting Attorneys for National Justice For Our Neighbors (our parent 501(c)(3)) and travels around the country checking on our other immigration legal service provider sites. Dominique earned a B.A. in Foreign Affairs as well as a J.D. from the University of Virginia. As Director of Legal Services, Dominique makes sure Just Neighbors stays focused on humanitarian based immigration cases. Dominique is a polyglot, speaking Italian, Spanish, French on top of English. Dominique feels that her work at Just Neighbors is the most rewarding thing she’s done apart from raising her children.

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Sarah Selim Milad


Sarah graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a degree in Foreign Policy. She went on to receive her Law Degree from American University, Washington College of Law. Sarah feels that her whole life story has drawn her to do the work she does at Just Neighbors. Sarah is a native Arabic speaker and also dabbles in French and Spanish. She was born in Egypt and immigrated with her parents as a 2 year old. As a Coptic Christian immigrant, she has a unique perspective on the discrimination that Christians face in the Middle East. She has traveled throughout Europe, Africa, and Central America on mission trips and vacations. Sarah and her husband recently planted a church in Baltimore called St. Barnabas and St. Susanna Coptic Orthodox Church. Sarah is lawyer by day and priest’s wife and a mother of two beautiful, crazy kids by nights and weekends. She loves interacting with clients and supporting and crying with them during some of the most difficult times in their lives and she also loves celebrating with them when they reach the other side.

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Cristina Sproul


Cristina is a graduate of Amherst College with degrees in Political Science and Spanish as well as the University of Maryland School of Law. Cristina works with DACA eligible clients, immigrant victims of violent crimes and domestic violence, and with asylees/refugees. Cristina’s main goal every day is to help as many people as possible by educating and empowering our neighboring community. Cristina speaks fluent Spanish and has many reasons why she loves working at Just Neighbors, “First and foremost the staff and volunteers at JN are the best! Second, I became a lawyer with the hopes of promoting access to justice for those most affected by social injustice. Working with clients at Just Neighbors has been one of my most rewarding experiences; I wake up excited to start my day knowing that I will have the opportunity to meet strong, ambitious individuals seeking to improve their lives and their community.”

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Jennifer Healey


Jennifer graduated from Liberty University’s Honors Program with a degree in Clinical Psychology and minor in Sociology. After serving as a social worker and counselor for several years, Jennifer attended Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law, where she was a Public Interest Scholar and completed her Law Degree. Before joining Just Neighbors, Jennifer worked as an Associate Attorney for an Immigration Law Firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jennifer is thrilled to work alongside of such committed staff and volunteers at Just Neighbors. She considers it a privilege to advocate for those seeking freedom and protection in the U.S. and enjoys listening to the many compelling stories her clients have to share with her.

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Mary Elizabeth Maffei


Mary Elizabeth graduated from Smith College with a degree in Anthropology and minor in Biology. She then went on to receive her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Mary Elizabeth started as a legal fellow with Just Neighbors before being hired as a staff attorney. Mary Elizabeth is thrilled that she gets to continue working alongside the incredibly dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers at Just Neighbors. She finds it extremely rewarding working with our clients and assisting them on their journeys.

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Eva Carney


Eva graduated with a history degree from the University of San Franciso and obtained her law degree from Stanford Law School.  She has worked for the U.S. Congress, various courts, and the U.S. government, and served as a partner in a private law firm in Washington, D.C.  During her time in private practice, she represented numerous clients in their humanitarian immigration cases, without charge, in cases referred to her by D.C.-area legal service providers Whitman Walker Health, CAIR Coalition, Catholic Charities, and Tahirih Justice Center.  She is a dual citizen of the United States and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and holds elected office as a CPN legislator.  Eva is absolutely honored to be on staff at Just Neighbors to serve Just Neighbors’ courageous and hard-working clients and their families. 

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Virginia Ruiz


Virginia received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and her law degree from Stanford Law School. Before joining Just Neighbors, she was an advocate for agricultural workers at Farmworker Justice in Washington, DC, where she focused on administrative and legislative advocacy on behalf of farmworkers across the country. She loves being part of the Just Neighbors team, where she can use her legal and language skills to help others to access justice.

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Julia Birk


Julia earned degrees in International Studies and Spanish and then her J.D. at the University of Richmond and has dedicated her legal career to serving vulnerable populations and survivors of trauma. Julia first interned with Just Neighbors as a law student back in 2010 and then as a volunteer attorney in 2012. She served as Secretary on the Just Neighbors Board of Directors from 2015-2020 and is excited to be on staff as the DC/MD Staff Attorney. Julia is fluent in Spanish and grew up in the DMV area where she is now proud to work alongside the dedicated staff and volunteers of Just Neighbors to provide hope through immigration legal services.

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Stephanie Barnes


Stephanie received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and her master’s degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. As Operations Director, her main job is to keep Just Neighbors running by doing the necessary “behind the scenes” work so that the attorneys can focus on helping as many clients as possible. Because she experienced untold amounts of love, care and hospitality by friends, family and strangers while living in Mexico, she enjoys being able to use Spanish and her experiences to help immigrants in her county. Stephanie is married and has one son, Sol, who, like his name, is the center of her universe. This is what Stephanie says about working at Just Neighbors, “The staff, volunteers and clients are what makes working at Just Neighbors so fulfilling. There is nothing more motivating and inspiring for me than when former clients come back to share how having a work permit or green card has changed their lives. I am always amazed at how people can overcome such trauma and difficulty and still be able to do wonderful things in this world.”

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Genesis Lazo


Genesis first came to Just Neighbors in 2016 when she was a fellow through the Shinnyo Foundation and worked on development and outreach. She became a member of the Just Neighbors Board of Directors in 2017 while she worked full time as a development assistant at Pathways to Housing, DC. Genesis is a graduate of the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Genesis is the child of Salvadoran immigrants and knows how important it is for immigrants to feel accepted and safe in their communities. “It is truly a dream come true to be back at Just Neighbors connecting our community to the work that we do to help immigrants and refugees.”

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Sasia Coward


Sasia graduated from Sanford Brown College with a criminal justice degree. Most recently before coming to Just Neighbors, Sasia worked at RAINN in Washington, D.C., providing short-term crisis intervention services for sexual assault survivors. She also works part-time for Doorways for Women and Families in Arlington, Virginia, as a client assistant in both the Domestic Violence & Homeless shelters. Sasia shares that seeing and hearing firsthand the trauma that some immigrant families experience to have a life with better opportunities is heart wrenching. No one should have to experience trauma just for wanting to provide better opportunities for their family.


Kimberly Garcia


Kimberly graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Sociology and Spanish. Kim first came to Just Neighbors the summer of 2018 as an intern. She quickly witnessed the passion and excitement that all the staff members and volunteers had for helping every client, which ignited her own passion for immigration advocacy. Post-graduation, she worked at Mil Mujeres Legal Services as an Outreach Associate, giving ‘know your right speeches’ to immigrants in the DC, Northern VA and Maryland community. Being the daughter of an immigrant from Guatemala, she has seen firsthand some of the difficulties that immigrants experience in this country. However, Kim is optimistic that real change can happen through advocating for the rights of all people, regardless of gender, race, and/or religion.

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Farah Ashurova


Farah started at Just Neighbors in May 2019 as an intern. Since October 2019, Farah has been working part-time as the Program Administrator at National Justice For Our Neighbors. In August 2020, Farah returned to Just Neighbors as a part-time employee to do an analytical and administrative work. Farah graduated from George Mason University (Schar School of Policy and Government) with a master’s degree in Public Administration, and currently, she is completing an Optional Practical Training. Her home country is Tajikistan – a small developing country in Central Asia. Farah truly appreciates the work that Just Neighbors does to help struggling immigrants and is happy to be part of our team.

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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance awareness and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, staff and community.



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