Just Neighbors is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to serving and supporting the immigrant community of 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 of all faiths and nationalities, especially those who are most vulnerable. We also seek to foster enriching experiences that enhance community and mutual understanding among our clients, volunteers, and staff.
Immigrants in 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.
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!
DIRECTOR OF LEGAL SERVICES
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.
Sarah Selim Milad
IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY
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.
IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY
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.”
IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY
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.
Mary Elizabeth Maffei
IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY
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.
Linda graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Art History as well as Georgetown University with a certificate in International Migration. As Volunteer Coordinator, she coordinates volunteers for the front office, clinics, and other Just Neighbors events. She has over 20 years of experience working with volunteers. Originally from Washington state, she and her family moved to the DC area in 1990. Linda lived in Russia for a year from 1997-1998 and in Egypt for six months in 2008. She is a member of Dumbarton United Methodist in Washington DC. Linda is a mother of three adult children. Her husband Michael works for The Library of Congress. Linda loves helping our clients and working with such a positive and caring group of people- both volunteers and staff.
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.”
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.”
JUSTICE AND ADVOCACY FELLOW
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.