JUST NEIGHBORS BLOG

Discovery of Unbeknownst Citizenship

Meena came to us because his wallet had been stolen, and his Green Card was in it. He needed our help in filing for a replacement Green Card. This case was slow going at first because we needed Meena’s help in gathering documents to apply for a fee waiver, since he did not have money …

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Preventing Deportation for Young Immigrants

“I’m no longer a child and cannot be dependent on my parents. My father, our main supporter of our family, is chronically ill with kidney failure, which requires a lot of expenses. I plan to go to college this upcoming year and need to have a way to provide for myself away from home. It …

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Recovery from Political Persecution

Joseph was only three years old when he heard loud noises outside of his house in Somalia. His home had been bombed, and the rest of his family had fled for their lives. When relatives came back for Joseph, he was severely injured and almost deaf. His parents were nowhere to be found, and Joseph’s …

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Freedom from Religious Persecution

Solomon had not seen his wife Sarah and their three children in two years, but the children had far from forgotten him. Five-year-old Mariam called to tell him that she was learning to write her name, and she sent him drawings by mail. Twelve-year-old Meena reminded his father of the promise to buy him a …

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Surviving Violent Crime and Obtaining the Right to Work

Beatriz came to the U.S. from Guatemala in early 2007. She worked hard to support herself at a local restaurant in northern Virginia. While there, she met Jose, a frequent patron of the restaurant. They dated briefly. During that time, Jose went to the restaurant where Beatriz worked every night to keep an eye on …

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From Liberian Refugee to United States Citizen

In late 2009, Helen was struggling to get on her feet. As a refugee from her home country, Liberia, she and her family had recently suffered extreme hardship in refugee camps in a second country. She felt blessed to have been relocated to a third country: the United States. Only about 1 percent of refugees …

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Escape from Domestic Violence

Viola is from Honduras. She moved out of her family home at the age of 13 to escape being sexually abused by a family member. When she was 16, she married a police officer who was very well connected with the local government in their hometown. Viola’s husband was incredibly abusive and beat her regularly. …

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A Mother’s Strength

Marisol came to the United States from Guatemala in 1997. Back then, there was a rise in poverty and crime in her village. She saw neighbors who were mugged in the street.  Teachers were often assaulted just for having stable jobs, and, as a teacher, she feared for her life. She chose to leave Guatemala, …

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A New School Year for the Whole Family

This year Karen’s two elementary-aged sons will not be the only ones going back to school. Armed with a green card and her newly minted Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Karen will begin her new job as a school bus driver.  While she has worked for the county’s transportation department as a bus monitor, she is …

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Abandoned by her Husband, Caring for Her Child

Esther, a young Nigerian woman, fell in love with a man while she was still living in her home country. He was an American citizen. They were married in 2014. Esther and her husband both wanted to live in the United States to start their family and eventually, they moved to the United States together. …

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Just Neighbors Paves the Way for a Promising Future

Ana arrived in the United States at 18 months of age with her mother fleeing violence in Honduras, which continues to endure one of the world’s highest homicide rates.  Since her arrival in the U.S. 22 years ago, Ana has married, had children, fostered a child, and presently works with autistic children.   Sadly, Ana is …

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Just Neighbors Statement on ICE Raids

In the past week, we have all heard rumors of possible ICE enforcement action in the interior of the U.S.  Just Neighbors has no direct information on the likelihood of these raids but remains concerned about the negative impact the detention of area immigrants may have on the rich fabric of residents, both immigrants and …

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Arranged Marriage: Hope, Despair, and Now Hope Again

Alina comes from a culture where arranged marriages are common, and her family had arranged such a marriage for her.  She was excited to come to the United States, get married and start a new life with her husband and his family. She met her husband for the first time on their wedding day.  Unbeknownst …

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What I Saw: A Volunteer’s Experience at the US/Mexican Border

By: Jeanne Barnes The views and opinions expressed in this reflection are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Just Neighbors.  Write what you see; this is often the instruction given to writers.  I am basically an optimistic person, so I want to write what I saw …

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Together, Again!

Victoria is a single Mom with 3 children now living and working here in Northern Virginia.  But her story begins in El Salvador. Her Mom had emigrated to the USA when she was a child, leaving her to be raised by her grandparents. Then at an early age, she was a single Mom with a …

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Just Neighbors’ Statement on Recent Presidential Memorandum Placing More Restrictions on Asylum Seekers

On April 29, 2019, a Presidential Memorandum (https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-additional-measures-enhance-border-security-restore-integrity-immigration-system/) ordered the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to propose regulations imposing significant barriers for asylum-seekers in search of protection in the United States. While the Memorandum addresses additional issues, some of which contradict each other, we want to highlight that the government intends to charge …

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An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Maffei, Just Neighbors’ Newest Staff Attorney

Mary Elizabeth started her time at Just Neighbors as a Legal Fellow in 2017 and recently became our newest Staff Attorney after getting barred. We sat down to ask her about her journey. Why did you choose to become an attorney? I wanted to help people after receiving my college degree, but I had yet …

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I love Just Neighbors

There seems to be no end to religious persecution on our planet. And this is exactly what brought Umida to the USA.  The situation in her homeland, Uzbekistan, was unbearable. She survived in a refugee camp for 6 months, and was finally able to leave, arriving in Northern Virginia in 2010. Her first visit with …

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Statement on United Methodist Church 2019 Special Session of the General Conference

Last week, at a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in St. Louis, MO, delegates passed the Traditional Plan, which tightened the rules restricting inclusion of the LGBTQI community.  We grieve with the LGBTQI community, feel the pain of a deeply divided global church, and acknowledge the hurt that this …

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Dreams Come True for Neighbors on the Eastern Shore

“This means that you will represent us; we are not going to be alone in this?” The young man and his wife couldn’t believe that after everything they had been through to come to the U.S. and everything that they had tried to do to do to “fix” their papers that someone was actually going …

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It Takes a Village! From Asylees to Green Card Holders

Khalaf Daoud sought the help of Just Neighbors in the hopes of securing green cards for his family of six (his wife, twin girls, and three teenage children). Mr. Daoud had come to the United States seeking asylum and then was able to bring his family. As Coptic Christians, the family faced the threat of …

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DACA Works! Just Neighbors Delivers!

Like so many immigrants to our country, ‘Jessica’ came to America when she was barely a year old.  She arrived with her family with a Visa for what was supposed to be a short visit with other family members. It was their first time in America, and they had no plans to stay.  But like …

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Volunteer Spotlight: Nayara Gervasio

Nayara Gervasio has come to volunteer at Just Neighbors thanks to her international friendships.  Nayara grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil where our Executive Director, Erin McKenney has traveled on several mission trips through her church. Naya and Erin became friends and have stayed in touch through the years. Naya, who graduated with a Business …

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Dominique and Cristina Volunteer at the Border

Just Neighbors attorneys, Dominique Poirier and Cristina Sproul, spent a week down at the Karnes Detention Facility in Karnes City, Texas at the end of October working with immigrant fathers and sons detained at the center. The trip was facilitated through a stipend received from CLINIC, and Dominique and Cristina volunteered as immigration attorneys, partnering …

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Freedom and Hope for a Survivor of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking claims victims every day, and we have seen so many here at Just Neighbors. Recently, another trafficking survivor was referred to us for help. At nineteen, Mei was living with her impoverished family in China with no work opportunities for her to help them or herself.  Looking for a better way, she was …

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A New Life for a Father and his Daughter

Victor came to the United States 13 years ago from Nicaragua. He was 19 when he left his home and everything he knew, hoping for a better life in United States. He was fleeing the violence in his village and reuniting with parents he hadn’t seen in 10 years. When Victor arrived, he lived with …

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Just Neighbors Mourns the Passing of a Friend and Colleague

We are profoundly saddened to hear of the loss of three beautiful people, one of whom worked here at Just Neighbors. Please pray for the family of these beautiful individuals.

Welcome (back) Genesis!

Just Neighbors is pleased to announce Genesis Lazo as our new development associate. Genesis was a fellow at Just Neighbors in 2016 through the Shinnyo Foundation where she 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 …

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Becoming Part of the American Tradition

The attainment of United States citizenship has never appeared to be such a dire requirement for immigrants and asylees than at the current moment. Our political climate precludes these vulnerable populations from depending on the protection of green cards from deportation; instead, many immigrants feel that acquiring U.S. citizenship alone will protect them from expulsion …

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Just Neighbors Condemns New Border Policies

In the last several months, the Trump Administration has issued new policies, including “zero tolerance” and redefining what qualifies for asylum. The first is not a change in law, but a change in the enforcement of the law with the intent to use the separation of children from their families as a tactic to discourage …

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Small Victories

The atrocities currently taking place at the Mexico-United States border have received such intense media scrutiny that the average, working-class American could be forgiven for forgetting that there are injustices of great magnitude happening all around us.  Just Neighbors staff, volunteers, and like-minded citizens maintain awareness that immigrants of all nationalities and beliefs have been …

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A Father’s Sacrifice

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families over the last two months. As we hear more and more stories of family separations both at the border and in our own communities it is hard to not lose hope or become numb to all the news around …

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Unnoticed News

The rate at which news is produced in America, and the amount of time average Americans have to consume that news, makes it difficult to read beyond headlines and top stories. And so, while hearsay and chatter about scandals in our national government dominate the front pages of almost all American news outlets, the narratives …

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Renewing the Dream

The narratives of immigrants living in the United States are characterized by change. Our democratic government heavily influences our society (and vice versa), so fluctuations in public policy often cause a reaction through public opinions (and again, vice versa). Likewise, the election process brings different individuals with various political positions into power, and those individuals …

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Sharing the Vision: The Successes of our Volunteers

In struggling with the difficulties of our clients, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Just Neighbors staff and volunteers are a vibrant group of individuals who possess their own goals and motivations. According to Just Neighbors’ Operations Director Stephanie Barnes, “approximately 30 percent of Just Neighbors volunteers are immigrants or first-generation …

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A Path to Independence

The overarching mission of Just Neighbors staff and volunteers is to help all immigrants and asylees who come to our office become productive, accepted members of their communities in northern Virginia. But our team has a great deal of work yet to do. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants …

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An Overworked System

Although the individuals who staff the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) work hard for the benefit of asylees and immigrants, their organization is understaffed and overworked. Lacking the necessary funding to hire additional officers and legal workers, their office’s dense paperwork and lengthy court cases can take weeks or months to fulfill. What’s …

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Spring2ACTion

Mark your calendars! #Spring2Action is on April 25, 2018! Help us raise funds to help more immigrant clients. Every donation will be matched up to $18,000 by The Mason Hirst Foundation and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. Don’t want to forget? Donate today! https://www.spring2action.org/organizations/just-neighbors  

Not Just Legal Assistance, but also a Brighter Future

It would be a mistake to believe that the story of every immigrant and asylum-seeker revolves around a single conflict. For each one, the agon of attaining legal status in the U.S. constitutes just one step on an arduous journey for a happier, more fulfilling life. This is one reason why the mission of Just …

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Giving Graham

When James Graham first came to Just Neighbors, he was in search of an opportunity to use and hone the skills he had developed as a lawyer for “over 40 years dealing with complex factual regulatory cases.” He found Just Neighbors, an organization dedicated to helping people. Graham spent his time volunteering as a lawyer …

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A New Chance

In their work for Just Neighbors, our attorneys spend much of their time working on behalf of their clients with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security that reviews applications for visas, green cards, and protected statuses, amongst other tasks. This office quite literally holds the …

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A Dream of Reunion

The larger goals that guide Just Neighbors staff and volunteers extend beyond the process of securing legal status for immigrants. We aim instead to create strong, empathetic communities by ensuring all members feel welcome and happy. In order to achieve this, then, we often strive to reunite families and loved ones across great distances and …

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Can Anything Stop Hope for a Better Life?

  by Hija Yu One year in December, I was surfing the Internet to find an appropriate image to put on the coming week’s church bulletin cover when an unusual image caught my eye.  It was a drawing of three men, popularly known as the three kings, on their camels’ backs, stopped by a tall wall …

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Help in a Domestic Abuse Case: One Woman’s Story

Immigrants suffering from domestic violence (often perpetrated by a partner) are in particularly desperate straits, as evidenced by the case of Valentina Flores. Back in 2011, Valentina came from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. to visit her brother, who had lived in America for sixteen years. While visiting, Valentina met the man who subsequently …

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Fallen Through The Cracks

In addition to newly-arrived immigrants and temporary residents applying for citizenship, Just Neighbors also works with clients who, for one reason or another, have fallen through the cracks and lost the benefits of legal status. One such case occurred when a Haitian man named Matthew came to Just Neighbors for help. Although well-educated, charismatic, and …

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DACA Renewals

As I write this, our office is humming with Dreamers  coming in to renew their DACA status:  As you may have heard, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the administration to resume accepting renewals of DACA status. The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to review the order, bypassing the U.S. 9th Circuit …

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HELP DACA RECIPIENTS REACH THEIR GOOOOAAAAL!

Enjoy a DC United game and fund Just Neighbors’ DACA renewal clinics! Donate (any amount counts!) before September 20th and be entered into a drawing to win 4 DC United tickets for September 23 at 7pm against San Jose Earthquakes.  These clinics are being offered FREE to clients, so funds raised here will go toward the copies, postage …

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Calling All DACA Recipients and Volunteers

Just Neighbors will be offering two DACA Renewal clinics on September 16 (in Herndon) and September 23 (in Annandale). If you need help with your renewal or are interested in volunteering please email linda@justneighbors.org. The clinics are: Saturday, September 16   2:00 – 5:00pm (Volunteers arrive at 1:00) Floris United Methodist Church 13600 Frying Pan Rd Herndon, VA …

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DACA Rescinded

We at Just Neighbors are saddened by the administration’s announcement today that the DACA program is rescinded. Just Neighbors has assisted over 1200 DACA applicants in the last 5 years and we have been heartened by their work-ethic, compassion, education, and loyalty to the United States: The only country most of them have ever known. …

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Client Who Escaped Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is an all too real, and common, reality for many of our neighbors. Fortunately, there are people in our community who take the time to help friends, neighbors and, in this case, strangers get the help they need. This client unfortunately was one who fell victim to it. A legal intern this summer …

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This Couple Got Their Happy Ending

Carlos and his wife Sophia both immigrated to the United States 13 years ago, Carlos from Honduras and Sophia from El Salvador. They both only received their green cards in March of this year through the help of Just Neighbors. Their children, except for one, also have their green cards. The one who doesn’t is …

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One Client’s Long Journey to Residency

Juan Romero, originally from El Salvador, became a client of Just Neighbors on November 19, 2013. He moved to Virginia from Texas and his immigration attorney asked us to take over his case. In 2010, Juan sustained multiple gunshot wounds from an attempted murder. He had to undergo multiple surgeries after the fact and still …

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Featured in the Wall Street Journal: A Methodist Network for Immigrants Believes in ‘Welcoming the Stranger’

Rob Rutland-Brown of National Justice for Our Neighbors lives out his faith by helping run legal clinics for low-income immigrants in 10 states. Coming from a family of United Methodist ministers—including his father, grandparents, aunts and uncles—Rob Rutland-Brown says that his own generation was expected to find a vocation in the church as well. But …

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Season Greetings and Giving!

The holidays are here, which means you’re probably asking yourself what to give your friends and family….or maybe you want to give to those who are less fortunate.  This holiday season we are happy to send a holiday card to your loved one if you want to make a donation in their honor.  When you …

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What the Election Means to Just Neighbors: How We Respond

One week after the long, often nasty and divisive, presidential campaign came to a close, Just Neighbors staff, volunteers and clients are still in a bit of shock. The campaign rhetoric against immigrants has manifested itself in confusion and uncertainty among immigrants, regardless of status, Now that the election is over, we are preparing for a new …

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La Perspectiva del Voluntario

Nuestro nuevo compañero, Génesis Lazo, asistió a la ceremonia de entrega de la ciudadanía de Anna (véase el artículo anterior). Aquí es lo que tenía que decir: Asistir a una ceremonia de naturalización es un privilegio, un salto de alegría y un suspiro de alivio a la misma vez. Me acuerdo de cuando estudiaba con …

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La Ciudadanía Tan Esperada

Mi madre accedió, porque no quería que mi hermana fuera perjudicada, si no, no habría estado de acuerdo con el matrimonio. Cuando mi madre me dijo que se habría tenido una ceremonia, me quedé muy sorprendida. Me pareció que era demasiado pronto para mí y yo quería hacer mis estudios, pero mi madre me dijo …

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Volunteer Perspective

Our new Fellow, Genesis Lazo, attended Anna’s citizenship ceremony (see story above). Here is what she had to say: Attending a naturalization ceremony is such a privilege. It is both a leap for joy and a sigh of relief all at once. I can remember studying with my dad for his citizenship test and the …

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Citizenship – Long Awaited!

My mother said yes because she did not want my sister to be hurt. Otherwise she would not have agreed to the marriage. When my mother told me there was [to be a marriage] ceremony, I was so shocked. I thought it was too early for me, I wanted to do my studies. My mother …

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Enjoy a DC United Game and Support Just Neighbors!

Are you a soccer fan?  Thanks to the generosity of volunteer and DC United fan Andrew Baskin, Just Neighbors is hosting an online drawing to raise money to help immigrants and refugees in Northern Virginia.  For every $10 you donate online, your name will be entered into a drawing to win the following package: 4 sideline …

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“Discúlpenos, No Podemos Ayudarle”

Esta frase es una de las cosas más difíciles de decirle a un cliente. “Discúlpenos, no podemos ayudarle” usualmente significa que no hay posibilidades bajo la leyes actuales para que ellos puedan trabajar legalmente y mantener a sus familias. Sin embargo, ocasionalmente nosotros estamos encantados de tener que decir esto a un cliente.  Esto es …

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“Sorry, We Cannot Help You”

This phrase is one of the hardest things to tell a client. “Sorry, we cannot help you” usually means there are no possibilities under the current law for them to be able to legally work or provide for their family. However, occasionally we are delighted to have to say this to a client. This is …

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Saludos De La Nueva Directora Ejecutiva…

Feliz Año Nuevo (Financiero)! Mi nombre es Erin McKenney. Yo soy la nueva directora ejecutiva de Just Neighbors y estoy muy emocionada de ser parte de esta maravillosa organización. Mientras me estoy aclimatando a esta nueva posición, se ha convertido rápidamente evidente que Allison Rutland Soulen dejo las cosas en muy buena forma. Este es …

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Greetings from the new Executive Director

Happy New (Fiscal) Year! My name is Erin McKenney. I am the new executive director of Just Neighbors and am very excited to be a part of this amazing organization. As I am acclimating to the new position, it has quickly become evident that Allison Rutland Soulen left things in great shape. This is truly a …

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New Executive Director

The board of directors is pleased to announce that Erin McKenney is the new executive director of Just Neighbors. Erin is a native of Kentucky and graduate of Georgetown College (KY) with a degree in Marketing and Finance. She came to the Washington area in 1985 and had a 20+ year career with Verizon in …

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Supreme Court Ruling on DAPA

On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court announced a tie decision (4-4) in U.S. v. Texas. This means that those eligible for DAPA and Expanded DACA cannot file petitions at this time.  USCIS cannot accept applications for these two case types.  Do not go to a notario or another attorney who claims they can file …

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El Decision del Corte Suprema Sobre DAPA

El 23 de junio del 2016, la Corte Suprema anunció una decisión de empate (4-4) en U.S. versus Texas. Esto significa que aquellos elegibles para DAPA y la ampliación de DACA no podrán someter peticiones en estos momentos. USCIS no puede aceptar solicitudes para estos dos tipos de caso. No consulten con un notario u …

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New Board Members

We are thrilled to have two new board members: Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Jacqueline de los Ríos. Ricardo is a reporter with the Associated Press, where he currently focuses on health care. He and his wife, Myrta, have lived in Northern Virginia since 1985. For most of that time they have been members of Fairlington United …

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Nuevos Miembros del Consejo

Estamos encantados de tener a dos nuevos Miembros del Consejo: Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar y Jacqueline de los Ríos. Ricardo es un corresponsal de Associated Press, donde actualmente  se enfoca en los temas de asistencia sanitaria. El y su esposa Myrta han vivido en el Norte de Virginia desde 1985. La mayoría de este tiempo han sido …

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Just Neighbors is Moving Locations in June

In our 20th anniversary year, Just Neighbors is relocating its offices. We will still be located in an area rich with low-income immigrants, but we are moving into a collaborative relationship that will benefit our clients and their families. When a church on Heritage Drive in Annandale began to close its doors, Annandale United Methodist …

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Reubicación de Just Neighbors en Junio

En el año de nuestro veinte aniversario, Just Neighbors esta reubicando sus oficinas.  Nosotros todavía estaremos localizados en una zona con predominancia de inmigrantes de bajos recursos económicos, pero estaremos entrando en una colaboración que beneficiara a nuestros clientes y sus familias. Cuando una iglesia en Heritage Drive en Annandale empezó a cerrar sus puertas, …

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Just Neighbors Pide Adiós a Directora Ejecutiva, Allison Rutland Soulen

Allison Rutland Soulen dejará Just Neighbors.  Como muchos de ustedes saben, Allison fue una de las fundadoras de Just Neighbors en 1996.  Ella ha tenido una variedad de posiciones a través de los años que han ayudado a que esta vibrante organización tome forma.  Nosotros la extrañaremos, pero sabemos que ella deja una organización fuerte …

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Just Neighbors Says Goodbye to Executive Director, Allison Rutland Soulen

Allison Rutland Soulen will be leaving Just Neighbors. As many of you know, Allison was a founder of Just Neighbors in 1996. She has held a variety of positions over the years as she has helped to shape this vibrant organization. We will miss her, but we know that she leaves behind a strong organization …

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El Amor Perdura

Mientras celebramos el mes de ¨Ame a su Prójimo¨, muy contentos celebramos la noticia  que Juan y Beatriz finalmente se casaron en Diciembre 23, 2015. Hace tres años, Just Neigbors ayudó a Juan a obtener una visa U que esta que estaba basado en asalto al hogar. Ahora, estamos ayudando a Juan a que consiga …

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Love Endures

As we celebrate “Love Your Neighbor” this month, we happily share the news that Juan and Beatriz finally got married on December 23, 2015.  Three years ago, Just Neighbors helped Juan obtain a U-visa based on being the victim of a violent home invasion. Now, we are helping Juan obtain his green card.  Afterwards, he …

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Duplique su amor!

Nuestro “Ame a su Proxima” campaña de en febrero de iguale sus obsequios sobrepaso su meta! Tuvimos treinta y ocho donantes incluyendo veinticinco nuevos donantes. De estos nuevos donantes diecinueve fueron clientes pasados! Recibimos una donación  de $5,000 de la fundación de Cafritz y $6,177 de donaciones individuales un total de $11,177!!! Muchas gracias a …

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Cafritz Matches donations during “Love Your Neighbor” month

The Just Neighbors’ “Love Your Neighbor” matching gift campaign in February exceeded its goal!  We had thirty-eight donors, including twenty-five new donors.  Of those new donors, nineteen were former clients!  We received a $5,000 match from the Cafritz Foundation and $6,177 individual donations, for a total of $11,177!! Thank you very much to everyone who donated …

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Just Neighbors les desea ¡Felices Fiestas!

La Alegría De Una Green Card Juntos Por Navidad: La Reunión en el Aeropuerto Caras de Alegría Campaña de Fin de Año, Trayendo la alegría a Just Neighbors. Ayuda otras familias por medio de Just Neighbors. ¡Dona ahora!

Holiday Joy from Just Neighbors

Green Card Joy! Together for the Holidays: Airport Reunion Joyful Faces! End of year Campaign Bringing Joy!  To help other families through Just Neighbors. Donate now!                  

ASILADOS SIRIOS

Sami y su familia son afortunados. Sami había llegado a los Estados Unidos en marzo del 2011 debido a su trabajo, antes de que la revolución empezara en su país. El dejo a su esposa y a sus hijos pequeños en Siria, esperando que su viaje fuera pequeño. El explica “Cuando el conflicto empezó, la …

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Syrian Asylees

Sami and his family are fortunate. Sami had come to the U.S. on business in March 2011, before the revolution started.  He left his wife and young children in Syria, anticipating only a short trip.  He explains, “when the conflict started, most of my friends were under arrest because we used to work in media and …

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These are a few of Ryan’s favorite things…

about volunteering at Just Neighbors. Ryan Clough was one of our great volunteers last summer. Here is what he has to say about his experience. Just Neighbor’s location gives it a truly advantageous ability to attract clients. In a few short months, I worked with clients from all over the world. Just Neighbors has a …

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Conoce Una de Nuestras Maravillosas Voluntarias

Brian esta cursando el tercer año como estudiante del Colegio de Leyes en la American University of Washington: Cuando empecé mi búsqueda para mis prácticas profesionales durante el verano. Yo sabía que quería trabajar en un lugar donde trabajaran con leyes de inmigración, y buscaba una sin fines de lucro. Estaba buscando una oficina que ayudara …

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Helping Refugees and Asylees

“Watching the news about the Syrian Refugees has made me feel helpless about the situation, but I find comfort knowing I can help families here in Virginia who have fled desperate situations as well. Thank you Just Neighbors for your work.”— a note from a donor to Just Neighbors Just Neighbors does help refugees and …

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Un Final Muy Feliz

El pasado mes de octubre atreves de nuestra cuenta de Facebook, solicitamos donaciones para poder ayudar a nuestro pequeño cliente  “Ali” con la cuota para su solicitud. El padre de Ali es originario de Birmania y entro a los estados unidos en el 2004 solicitando asilo debido a motivos políticos y religiosos. En su aplicación …

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A Very Happy Ending

Last October we used Facebook to solicit donations toward the filing fees for our little client “Ali.”  Ali’s father had entered the U.S. in 2004 and sought asylum from Burma on religious and political grounds. On his application he included his wife, who was still abroad. After nearly five years, our client’s asylum case was …

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Meet One of our Wonderful Interns

Briana is a rising third year student at American University Washington College of Law. When she began her search for a summer internship, she knew she wanted to work at a place that practiced immigration law, and she was hoping for a non-profit. “I was looking for an office that actively helped clients with immigration …

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Disfrute un partido de D.C. United y Ayude a Just Neighbors!

Eres un fanático del futbol? Gracias a la generosidad del voluntario y DC United fanático Andrew Baskin, Just Neighbors está organizando una rifa  para reunir dinero para ayudar a inmigrantes y refugiados en el Norte de Virginia. Por cada donación en línea de $10, tu nombre será parte de la rifa para ganar los siguientes premios: …

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Enjoy a D.C. United Game and Support Just Neighbors!

Are you a soccer fan?  Thanks to the generosity of volunteer and DC United fan Andrew Baskin, Just Neighbors is hosting an online drawing to raise money to help immigrants and refugees in Northern Virginia.  For every online donation, your name will be entered into a drawing to win the following package: 4 sideline tickets …

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Gracias a Nuestros Donantes de Do More 24!

Just Neighbors recaudó $6720 en 24 horas durante la campaña en línea Haga Más 24 patrocinada por United Way. Con el apoyo de nuestros generosos donantes, superamos nuestra meta de $5000. Un agradecimiento especial para Julia Bizer miembro de la junta y su copresidente Bryce Chadwick, quienes fueron responsables en hacer correr la voz acerca …

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Thank you to our Do More 24 Donors!

Just Neighbors raised $6720 in 24 hours during the June 4 Do More 24 online giving campaign sponsored by the United Way. With the support of our generous donors, we surpassed our goal of $5000. A special thanks goes to Board member Julia Bizer and her co-chair Bryce Chadwick, who were responsible for getting the …

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New Board Officers Elected

The board elected new officers at its annual meeting earlier this month.   We are pleased to announce the following: Chair – Elisabeth Rhyne, Vice – Chair – Joe Keyes, Treasurer – Lisa Trangsrud, Secretary – Julia Bizer We are pleased that former chair Debra Lange and vice-chair Jim Dake will continue to serve on the …

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Recipient of Giving Circle of Hope Grant

On Friday May 1st, Just Neighbors was honored as one of the grantees of the 2015 Giving Circle of HOPE Grant. Members of the Giving Circle of HOPE contribute time, talents, and money to local causes. Members of the group commit to giving at least $365 a year and then collectively decide what organizations they …

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American U Law Students Volunteer

Last week, eight students from the Washington College of Law at American University came with their immigration law professor to help our clients at a legal clinic.  We appreciated their coming out to Virginia to volunteer. Working with actual clients gave the students an opportunity to put their learning into practice and to see how …

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Welcome New Board Members

Just Neighbors welcomes three new board members:  Joe Keyes, Julia Bizer, and Liz Hoefer.  Joe joined in December, and Julia and Liz joined in February. A retired Chief Legal Officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, Joe began his involvement at Just Neighbors as a volunteer attorney, coming into the office twice weekly to …

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New Hope Attorney now Full-time!

We are thrilled to announce that Cristina Sproul became a full-time staff attorney earlier this year.  Cristina runs our New Hope Project, which focuses on the youth and young adults who are eligible for temporary benefits.  The program is “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” and we call it “DACA.”  The New Hope Project was started …

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Just Neighbors featured in the Washington Post

“At Just Neighbors, a nonprofit program in Northern Virginia, attorney Allison Rutland Soulen said advance parole is neither a “magic wand” nor a “back door” for her clients, but rather a legal way to resolve cases where the sole impediment to permanent residency is a border-crossing that took place many years ago.” Read the full …

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Types of Cases

Welcome to Just Neighbors, a partnership with the immigrant community of northern Virginia! If you are seeking immigration legal help, we would like to assist you in achieving your dreams and in providing a safe and secure future for you and your family. In order to qualify for services with Just Neighbors, you must: live …

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Love Your Neighbor

On a snowy Valentine’s Day last month, friends and supporters of Just Neighbors gathered together for “champagne and chocolate” to kick off the “Love Your Neighbor” campaign.  The money raised from this on-going fundraiser goes directly to providing  support to expanding Just Neighbor’s capacity to help more clients who will be eligible under the DAPA/DACA executive action.  Guests enjoyed the lovely home of Marci and …

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Thank You Note from Asia

This client was the victim of a violent crime while in the United States on a student visa. After cooperating with the police and seeing her assailant convicted, she wanted to go home. She had a safe home to return to and a family that would accept her, but as you can see from her …

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Client Story: Ms. S Escapes Abuse with U Visa

This month’s client story was written by one of our new volunteers, Nam Mee Cho.  After three weeks in the office, she writes: The lasting impact of Just Neighbors’ work is evidenced by our clients’ multi-layered success stories.  Following is an example of how our services to an underserved, extremely indigent population have triggered economic …

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Join Us April 10 for Immigrant Lobby Day and Rally for Citizenship!

April 10 is Immigrant Lobby Day and the Rally for Citizenship On April 10, immigrant rights organizations and leaders from across the country will bring the fight for immigration reform to Washington, DC for a massive Immigrant Lobby Day and a Rally for Citizenship. The Center for Community Change/Fair Immigration Reform Movement, CASA de Maryland, …

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Volunteer to Help at Citizenship Day on April 20

SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 20, 2013 IS CITIZENSHIP DAY AILA Citizenship Day is coming soon on April 20, 2013! The D.C. Chapter Citizenship Day Committee is seeking volunteers for naturalization workshops to be held on April 20 at locations in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. The April 20 events will take place at Catholic Charities Esperanza …

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Women’s Support Group Meets Wednesdays at Just Neighbors

In addition to our legal services, Just Neighbors also runs a support group for immigrant women in our community. Every Wednesday afternoon at 1pm, a small group of women ranging in age from 16 to 70, gathers at the Just Neighbors office to talk. For many of them, this is the only opportunity to share …

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Donor Contributes Funds to Cover 10 DACA Applications

We are deeply appreciative of a donor who sent a check to cover 10 filing application fees for the youth and young adults who are eligible for employment authorization via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.   President Obama implemented the program, which we call DACA, in the summer of 2012.  To date, we …

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77-Year-Old Syrian Native Tells Immigration Officer She “Could Cook” for the US if Necessary

Client Story Anna is a delightfully feisty 77-year-old native of Syria.  She left her homeland when she was seven, and considers the United States her country.  Anna’s social worker brought Anna to a clinic for help applying to become a citizen of the United States.  Anna had applied earlier, but had not passed the reading, …

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FREE Naturalization Information Session March 7 in Centreville

FREE naturalization information session for legal permanent residents and interested naturalization applicants. March 7, 7pm-9pm Topics covered at this FREE session will include: • Naturalization process • Naturalization test • Rights and responsibilities of U.S. ctizenship Centreville Regional Library 14200 St. Germain Drive Centreville, VA 20121-2299 Please RSVP by March 5 to washington.communityrelations@dhs.gov *For more …

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Thank You and Update on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Work

Many of you have read about our work with DACA clients — deferred action for childhood arrivals.  These immigrants arrived in the United States as children and, for the first time, have the opportunity to come out of the shadows and apply for work authorization.  Part of the application is a $465 fee to Immigration …

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By the Numbers: Highlights of Our Work in 2012

The year 2012 was a record-breaking one for Just Neighbors.  We served more clients than ever by far, conducting 1,218 cases for 1,076 clients. This compares to 2011’s totals of 770 cases for 651 clients.  We handled 233 domestic violence cases, 402 family unification cases, and 334 deferred action for childhood arrival cases.   Our …

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Board Member Jim Dake to Take on Additional Role During ED Search

Just Neighbors board member Jim Dake will work as a volunteer during period in which we are searching for a new ED. Jim will be responsible for many of the day-to-day administrative tasks ordinarily performed by the executive director.  Jim is a retired chemist with 40 years of experience as a researcher, manager, and consultant.  …

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Allison Rutland Soulen to Serve as Interim ED of Just Neighbors

Allison Rutland Soulen will serve as acting executive director of Just Neighbors until a newly hired executive director begins work.   Since 2005, Allison has served as director of legal services at Just Neighbors. Allison was a co-founder of Just Neighbors in 1996, and she has previously served as executive director on two occasions. We look forward …

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Rob Rutland-Brown Leaves Just Neighbors January 25

Today is the last day at Just Neighbors for our dedicated executive director Rob Rutland-Brown, after seven years of faithful service. Next week Rob will begin a new position as executive director of National Justice for Our Neighbors, a nationwide network of immigration legal clinics affiliated with the United Methodist Church. There he will continue …

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Farewell to Executive Director Rob Rutland-Brown

From Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director After seven amazing years, I have made the difficult decision to leave Just Neighbors at the end of January. I will continue the important work of providing immigration legal services, compassion, and justice to immigrants in my new role as executive director of National Justice for Our Neighbors, a nationwide …

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November 2012 Update

Client Story Beginning in 2007, a man in Maryland conducted an elaborate ruse, posing as an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer. He victimized more than 50 immigrants by convincing them he could assist in applying for a special immigration visa. He opened up an office, hired secretarial staff, and even acquired a uniform, a …

November 2012 Update Read More »

October Update

Client Story This month, Maria received the joyful news that she would become a United States citizen!  However, it was a long 4-1/2 years to get Maria to that point.   We began working with Maria in 2008, after her marriage to an abusive husband.  Maria’s father, a lawful permanent resident, had petitioned for her …

October Update Read More »

September Update

Client Story Joseph was only three years old when he remembers hearing loud noises outside of his house in Somalia.  His home had been bombed and his family fled for their lives.  When relatives came back for Joseph he was severely injured and almost became deaf.  His parents were nowhere to be found and Joseph’s …

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August Update

Client Story “I’m no longer a child and cannot be dependent on my parents.  My father, our main supporter of our family, is chronically ill with kidney failure, which requires a lot of expenses.  I plan to go to college this upcoming year and need to have a way to provide for myself away from …

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Childhood Arrival Checklist in Spanish

LISTA DE DOCUMENTS DE LLEGADA DE MENORES HONORARIO DE ENTRADA – $100 (efectivo o giro monetario) HONORARIO DE USCIS-$465 Giro monetario a la orden de USCIS (NO CHEQUES) Dos fotografías a colores tamaño pasaporte Lista de las direcciones desde que entró a los Estados Unidos (las que le sea posible acordarse) y las fechas desde …

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Childhood Arrival Document Checklist

CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS DOCUMENT CHECKLIST *  INTAKE FEE – $100 (cash or money order) *  USCIS FEE – $465 Money Order made to USCIS (NO CHECKS!) *  2 Color passport photos *  List of Addresses since entering the U.S., as best as you can remember, AND THE Dates that you Lived there (the beginning and ending …

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July 2012

Client Story From U-Visa to Permanent Residency Juan, Maria, and Dolores are three typical Just Neighbors U-Visa clients. Three years ago, each of them was the victim of a violent crime. With the help of Just Neighbors they applied for, and were granted, a U-Visa for themselves and their families, granting them legal status in …

July 2012 Read More »

May 2012

Client Story Juan Carlos will have an especially Happy Father’s Day this year — he just received his lawful permanent residence (green card). Now his nine-year-old son, Jose, no longer worries about whether his father will be deported. This is a particularly happy case for us, because we “found” Juan Carlos during a community outreach …

May 2012 Read More »

April 2012

Client Story Habib is one of those clients that we know has a promising future here. She is smart and motivated. When we call and ask if Habib is available, she politely responds, in impeccable English, “This is she.” She has plans to go to school and then to get a high-quality job, but she …

April 2012 Read More »

March 2012

Client Story This month we had the pleasant opportunity to call a client and tell him that he was, to his disbelief, already a U.S. citizen! Meena came to us because his wallet had been stolen, and his green card was in it. He needed our help to file for a replacement green card. The …

March 2012 Read More »

February 2012

Client Story We first met Raja this past fall, when she came to our Tuesday night clinic seeking help with her green card application. A refugee from Iraq, Raja had been in the United States for a year and was eager to establish permanent residency in this country. She has no family here and receives …

February 2012 Read More »

January 2012

Client Story “They didn’t want to come. You know, they think we all want to come, but we don’t. We don’t want to leave our home,” the interpreter explained to me. We were in a room with a mother and her four adult sons. The adult sons were professionals in their home country: an architect, …

January 2012 Read More »

December 2011

Client Story Michael, from Haiti, came to Just Neighbors in August 2010 from a homeless shelter. He was well educated, very personable, and spoke with no trace of an accent. He suffered from significant health problems. We explained to Michael that the earthquake in Haiti eight months earlier allowed him to apply for Temporary Protected …

December 2011 Read More »

November 2011

Client Story Our volunteer Frank met with a cordial gentleman from a country in the Horn of Africa. The client works with his wife at a local supermarket, helping to bag groceries and stock shelves. In his home country, the client was a dean at a prominent secondary school, and an adjunct faculty member at …

November 2011 Read More »

October 2011

Open House! Date: Sunday, November 13th Time: 2:00-4:30 p.m. Location: 5827 Columbia Pike, Suite 320 Falls Church, VA 22041 Contact: Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director,at (703) 979-1240 or rob@justneighbors.org Join Just Neighbors Staff, Board, clients, volunteers, and surrounding community members for an informational and fun open house to celebrate fifteen years of service and expansion of …

October 2011 Read More »

September 2011

Client Story Jhonathan’s photo on his employment authorization document, or work permit, shows a wide-eyed, curious face. His hair juts out at all angles in thick black strands. This card serves as his only photo identification in the U.S. and gives Jhonathan permission to work here, at least from Immigration’s perspective. The face in the …

September 2011 Read More »

March 2011

Client Story When the precocious young Rushan Turkel came to America, it had a profound effect on her life. The 14-year-old started studying hard in school, working towards one day going to Harvard University and becoming a surgeon. “In China, I used to get all F’s,” Rushan said. “Now, I get all A’s.” The bad …

March 2011 Read More »

August 2011

Client Story Originally from Peru, Alejandro first came to the United States on a visitor visa for his brother’s wedding in 2001. After some time, he was offered a scholarship to attend a technical school in the area. Alejandro, who is gay, hired someone who he thought was an immigration attorney to assist him with …

August 2011 Read More »

July 2011

Client Story Janet Lee says that her life in a small Vietnamese village used to be happy and peaceful. Then the Communists invaded, and then the war broke out. She says her home and village were destroyed; her family fled. When the war ended, Janet hoped to bring her parents to the United States to …

July 2011 Read More »

May 2011

Client Story Rosa’s case was not as straightforward as we had predicted. She came to Just Neighbors from a shelter where she had sought refuge from her abusive husband, John. Five years earlier Rosa had been deeply in love with John, telling us that he “respected” her and treated her more kindly than anyone had …

May 2011 Read More »

April 2011

Client Story Esmeralda came to us in October 2008 accompanied by a paralegal from a legal services organization, who asked us if we could help her with immigration; he had been helping her with child custody. Esmeralda married her childhood sweetheart and lived happily with him as they started a family in Nicaragua. Soon after …

April 2011 Read More »

February 2011

Client Story Queen of Consular Processing Cynthia Ingersoll, a retired attorney, has been volunteering at Just Neighbors since October, 2008. Cynthia routinely handles green card applications for our refugee and asylee clients. Although she continues with that work, she has also stepped in to fill a pressing need. Just Neighbors had not been doing “consular …

February 2011 Read More »

January 2011

Client Story The room was silent. Shawn, a 78 year old Sikh with a turban and a long white beard, sat in his wheelchair barefoot with his own personal United States flag in hand. A larger flag hung prominently in the corner. Shawn’s daughter and her husband stood next to him, along with a Just …

January 2011 Read More »

Just Neighbors Primary Signature-Reverse-01

The mission of Just Neighbors is to provide immigration legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees in 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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