Joy Green, Legal Director
Joy Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Policy Studies from Rice University and her Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School. While in college, she spent a semester abroad at the University of Havana in Cuba.
Prior to working with JFAI, Joy spent four years in private practice in Dallas with a law firm that exclusively specializes in immigration law. There she gained valuable experience representing individuals across the United States with family-based immigration, removal defense, naturalization, and humanitarian relief. During law school, Joy was a legal intern with Immigration and Refugee Services at Catholic Charities.
Joy is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative. Prior to starting her legal career, Joy was a public school teacher. She is proficient in Spanish.
Gabriela Lopez-Compean, Managing Attorney
Gabriela Lopez-Compean received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Hispanic Studies from Rice University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center. Gabriela was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2016.
Prior to working with JFAI, Gabriela worked three years in private practice in Houston. She represented clients before immigration services and immigration court. She has experience in a variety of cases, including family-based immigration, naturalization, humanitarian relief, and removal defense. While in law school, she participated in both the civil and immigration clinics representing underprivileged clients, who were often victims of abuse.
Because she was born in Mexico and spent her early childhood there, Gabriela has personally experienced the immigration process and understands its toll on immigrant families. She is passionate about helping others successfully navigate the immigration system. She is fluent in Spanish.
Karina Espinoza, Receptionist
Karina Espinoza received her Associates degree in Business Management from Houston Community College, and has six years of experience in the nonprofit field.
Karina has lived in Houston all her life, but many childhood summer vacations were spent in Mexico. Most of her family lived in Mexico, and throughout her life, she has heard many stories about the sacrifices her family made and the struggles it took to come to the United States. She is passionate about assisting immigrants who are looking for a better life here.
Jana Friðfinnsdóttir, Staff Attorney
Jana Fridfinnsdottir received her graduate law degree from the University of Iceland in 2005 and her Juris Doctor from Penn State Dickinson Law in 2013. Jana comes to JFAI with a broad range of experience, having practiced law both in Iceland and the United States. Before joining JFAI, she worked for Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice. She has experience in a variety of cases, including family based immigration, naturalization and humanitarian relief. At JFAI Jana works primarily with Asylum seekers.
Because Jana is an immigrant herself, she has personal experience and empathy with the challenges of navigating the immigration system.
Jana is fluent in Icelandic, proficient in German and is learning Spanish.
Dwayne Bennett, Development Director
Dwayne comes to JFAI with a broad range of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experiences. He has over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. As both an executive and development director, he has raised several million dollars for an array of causes ranging from youth services, United Way, community development and revitalization, and capital punishment equality. Dwayne is most passionate about helping the lesser fortunate, as well as working to improve systemic deficiencies that often impede persons trying to navigate them.
Dwayne received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Prairie View A&M University and his Master's Degree in Clinical Sociology from Texas Southern University.
In his spare time, Dwayne enjoys fishing, exercising, gardening, and coaching youth basketball.
Sandra Kitchen, Legal Assistant
Sandra Kitchen started her immigration career in 2007 working for five years at the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire where she acquired vast knowledge in Consular Processing with the Consulates/Embassies. In 2011, she moved to Houston, Texas, and continues working in the Immigration Field, as her passion is to assist immigrant people (just like her) to be able to live legally in the United States. She has more than 12 years of experience in the Immigration Field working on family and employment-based visa petitions. She possesses a Paralegal and Human Resource Certificates from the Houston Community College, and continues her Legal studies at the Stratford Career Institute.
Sandra is from Peru and immigrated to the United States in 2005. Being an immigrant, Sandra has first hand experience about the immigration process, and being in this field gives her the opportunity to help people to achieve their "American Dream."
Henriette Vinet-Martin, Staff Attorney
Henri Vinet-Martin is a bilingual Chilean-American immigration attorney, born and raised in the Washington DC metro area, and the daughter of immigrants. Henri received her BA in Global Affairs from George Mason University and her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Henri is a member of the state bar of California.
Prior to working with JFAI, she worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), while based in the Deep South, fighting deportations and defending immigrant rights. Prior to her work with the SPLC she worked for Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) in the San Francisco Bay Area and for Catholic Charities in Louisiana representing detained immigrants. She sits on the Dream Corps Board of Directors and passionately advocates for animal rights when not practicing immigration law.
Daniella Salas-Chacon, Staff Attorney
Daniella Salas-Chacon received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Philosophy and Spanish from the University of Dallas, and her Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary's University Law School in 2019. Throughout her collegiate career, Daniella worked with nonprofit organizations that served Texas' low-income families, including the immigration community. While in law school, Daniella published a comment titled Effects of Senate Bill 4 on Wage-Theft: Why All Workers Are at Risk in Low-Income Occupations. Through this publication, Daniella explained the negative effects that anti-immigrant laws can have on other low-income communities.
Prior to working with JFAI, Daniella spent two years in private practice in San Antonio with a law firm that specializes in immigration law. While in private practice she represented the immigrant community and their families in family-based immigration and removal defense.
As a daughter of immigrants, Daniella is able to zealously advocate for the immigrant community, as she has witnessed first-hand their needs and struggle in navigating the United States immigration system. Daniella is eager to continue serving the San Antonio immigration community.
Claudia Perez Vila, Legal Assistant
Claudia Perez Vila supports the Harris County Immigrant Legal Services Fund (ILSF). She was born and raised in Cuba. She graduated from the University of Havana in 2018. She came to the United States in 2019 seeking asylum and had firsthand experience of the hardships faced by recent arrivals at the border. Through the help of a nonprofit organization in Miami, she was able to adjust my status and now lives happily as a legal permanent resident. After her personal experience with the complex immigration system in the United States, she decided she wants to help immigrants like her navigate the process.
She started working for Claudia M Garcia Law Office in Miami as a receptionist in March 2020. Then she worked her way up to a legal assistant in July 2020. Ever since then, she has had the privilege of working on Asylum, TPS, DACA, U Visa, and VAWA cases to name a few. In July 2020, She received her Paralegal Studies certificate from University of Miami in Miami, FL. Now she has relocated to Houston, TX and is excited to fight for the rights of immigrants.
Diona Johnson, Staff Attorney
Diona Johnson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Texas Christian University and her Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law in 2020. She is currently barred in Texas with eligibility to practice in over 30 states. Throughout college, Diona spent a significant amount of time advocating for various minority groups on campus by leading social movements and meeting with the Chancellor and Board of Trustees.
Prior to working with JFAI, she worked as a solo practitioner that specialized in family and criminal law. She has also worked with Fragomen on business immigration, the Bronx Defenders on parental rights, and her Criminal Defense Clinic in law school.