Shaina Aber is the executive director of the Acacia Center for Justice. Based in California, she oversees national immigration focused initiatives dedicated to providing legal defense, representation, and meaningful access to justice to people in immigration proceedings. Shaina is a seasoned leader with deep knowledge and expertise in the immigration policy realm and in managing federally funded legal access and representation programs. She is a dedicated professional with a decade and a half of experience in immigrant rights, human rights, public policy, and program management. Shaina’s work has endeavored to center race equity and inclusion in promoting policy and program implementation that is responsive to the needs and interests of communities affected by justice system inequities. Previously, Shaina worked as the deputy director of the Center of Immigration and Justice at the Vera Institute, where she focused her efforts on shaping the Center’s federal policy priorities and overseeing immigrant representation initiatives including the national Unaccompanied Children Program, the National Qualified Representative Program, and several California-based immigrant legal defense initiatives. During her time at Vera, Shaina built work in partnership with a community of legal services providers, immigrants' rights, refugee rights and children’s rights advocates throughout the country, and in her role at Acacia aims to take these collaborative endeavors to new heights.
Prior to joining Vera in 2016, Shaina served as the policy director at the National Advocacy Office of the Jesuits of the United States and Canada. There, she led advocacy efforts in Washington, DC for Jesuit leadership in coordination with grassroots affiliates, with a focus on immigrant justice, forced migration, border policy, and human rights issues in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Shaina holds a JD and a certificate in refugee and humanitarian emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA in Latin American Studies from Macalester College.