ABOUT US

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.

Mission

To provide high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia; and, to build community among clients, staff, volunteers and the larger society through education, advocacy, and volunteerism.

Vision

All immigrants in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia are able to live with dignity and full membership in the community.

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.

Staff

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!

Erin McKenney

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Erin is a native of Kentucky and graduate of Georgetown College (KY) with a degree in Marketing and Finance. She has lived in Northern Virginia since 1985. 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. Her mission trips through her church (Annandale UMC) 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 finds the resilience of our clients and the passion of our staff, volunteers, and board as motivation to work for justice for so many immigrants who just need a hand up.
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Dominique Poirier

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.

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Tori Andrea Babington

MANAGING ATTORNEY OF RURAL PROGRAMS

Tori has been a nonprofit immigration attorney since she graduated from law school in 2009. Prior to Just Neighbors, she was the Director of Legal Services at Northern Virginia Family Service. Tori has represented clients in all forms of humanitarian and family-based immigration cases, as well as defending them against removal in immigration court. She measures her career by the hundreds of refugees, domestic violence survivors, reunited families, and new American citizens who have made the United States their home with her assistance. Tori attended Sarah Lawrence College and Georgetown Law, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar and received a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Tori was born in Winchester, VA and currently lives with her family in Fauquier County.

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Sarah Selim Milad

IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY

Sarah went to law school with a desire to serve. After exploring various fields, she determined that immigration law would provide her the opportunity to engage in humanitarian work in a direct-services capacity. Sarah began her legal career at Justice For Our Neighbors in 2008, just after graduating from The American University, Washington College of Law. In Fall of 2009 she joined the Just Neighbors team. Sarah finds great fulfillment in supporting clients through their most difficult of times and celebrating with them when they reach the other side. She also enjoys helping legal interns and volunteer attorneys navigate the complexities of immigration law. As a Coptic Christian immigrant, she has a unique perspective on the discrimination that Christians face in the Middle East and why people seek safety and religious freedom in the United States. Sarah is a native Arabic-speaker and also dabbles in French and Spanish.

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Cristina Sproul

IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY

Cristina is a graduate of Amherst College with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. She obtained her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Cristina speaks fluent Spanish. Cristina strives to help people by educating and empowering our neighboring community. She has many reasons why she loves working at Just Neighbors, but mostly “I became a lawyer with the hope 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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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.

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Eva Carney

IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY

Eva has a history degree from the University of San Francisco 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 as a partner in a private law firm in Washington, D.C.  During her time in private practice, she represented clients in their humanitarian immigration cases, without charge, in cases referred 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

IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY

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

IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY

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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Allison Rothschild

IMMIGRATION STAFF ATTORNEY

Allison graduated Duke University with a degree in Political Science and obtained her law degree from Stanford Law School. During law school, Allison worked with the Stanford Immigrants’ Rights Clinic to represent clients in removal proceedings and volunteered at the border assisting asylum seekers.

“I am thrilled to join Just Neighbors and to be able to represent clients who, like all noncitizens, deserve to have a strong advocate on their side. I look forward to working alongside and learning from my passionate co-workers as I begin my legal career.”

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Stephanie Barnes

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

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 clients. Because of her experience living in Mexico, she enjoys being able to use Spanish 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 Just Neighbors unique. There is nothing more inspiring than when former clients come back to share how our work has changed their lives. I am always amazed at how people can overcome such trauma and difficulty to do wonderful things in this world.”

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Sasia Coward

OFFICE AND VOLUNTEER MANAGER

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.

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Keila Martinez

FRONT OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Keila graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in Human Development and Family Science. She takes much pride in being a first-generation college graduate within her family. While studying at Mason, she became an intern at Just Neighbors. As an intern, she was able to immerse herself in the multitude of tasks that it takes to run the front office. “As I reflect on why I chose to work at Just Neighbors, I can only think of my immigrant parents who paved the way for me to have opportunities like this one – giving back to families that resonate with mine. Being the daughter of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrant parents, who have experienced similar struggles to those who are seeking legal help within the organization, has only allowed me to be more compassionate and wanting to serve the community. This is why I believe I’m a perfect fit here at Just Neighbors.”

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Eric Dillon

SENIOR DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Eric joins Just Neighbors with 19 years of fundraising experience. Following more than a decade in progressive campaigns and elections, Eric has continued working with national non-profits and labor organizations to fight for a fair and just society. Born and raised in Texas, Eric enjoys being an uncle and spending time with his dog, Maeby.

“Growing up across a river from Juarez, Mexico, the stark divide of the borderland was ever-present. I’m grateful to be working with Just Neighbors for a cause that not only means a great deal to me personally, but is also the right thing to do.”

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Genesis Lazo

DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE

Genesis graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and Global Affairs. Through a partnership between the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and the Shinnyo-en Foundation, Genesis was able to come to Just Neighbors in 2016 as a fellow and work on fundraising and community engagement. 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 also serves as the Network Fundraising Advisor for National Justice For Our Neighbors. 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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The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, asylees, and refugees in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia; and, to build community among clients, staff, volunteers and the larger society through education, advocacy, and volunteerism.

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