Vera’s Shaina Aber Joins Acacia Center for Justice as its Inaugural Executive Director

New York, NY – Today, the Vera Institute of Justice announced that Shaina Aber, deputy director of the Center on Immigration and Justice, will join the Acacia Center for Justice as its inaugural executive director. In this role, she will guide the new organization as it prepares to build on Vera’s history of high-quality program management in the realm of immigration legal access and defense.

“I’m excited to join Acacia at this pivotal moment in history. As thousands of adults and children continue to face the threat of detention and deportation in a system that dehumanizes people, separates families, and undermines due process and access to justice under the law, the need for universal, zealous, and person-centered legal representation has only increased. I am thankful for my time at Vera and am ready to lead Acacia as it prepares to build on a body of work I proudly strengthened during my tenure,” said Shaina Aber.

“I have worked with Shaina for years, and there is no one who understands the importance of these programs better than her. These programs save lives. They keep families together and protect children from the worst injustices of our immigration system. With her at the helm, Acacia will not only succeed but exceed Vera’s decades-long management,” said Kica Matos, vice president of initiatives at Vera.

As a policy expert, advocate, and lawyer specializing in human rights law, Shaina has developed a profound understanding of how our immigration system works and has used her vast network of contacts in peer organizations, government offices, and the media to advance federal and state policy.

At Vera, Shaina has served in several leadership roles, most recently as the deputy director of the Center on Immigration and Justice. In this role, she played a pivotal part in Vera’s nationwide immigration priorities to establish a right to federally funded legal counsel for immigrants, end civil detention, and interrupt the criminalization-to-deportation pipeline.

She was also responsible for leading a department-wide effort to center race equity and inclusion in the identification and implementation of Vera’s policies and advocacy strategies.

About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and activists working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit