Allison Wannamaker, Esq.

Allison Wannamaker, a native Memphian, serves as MIA’s Managing Director. With the firm Lewis Thomason, Wannamaker concentrated her private practice on immigration law and naturalization. Ms. Wannamaker previously served with CLINIC detention programs in Los Angeles and New Orleans. She is a graduate of Rhodes College (B.A., International Studies) and Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Wannamaker… Read more »

Sally M. Joyner, Esq.

Interim Executive Director Sally M. Joyner is a lifelong Memphian and co-founder of MIA. Ms. Joyner earned a BA (English Linguistics) and JD from the University of Memphis and an MBA from Christian Brothers University. Her primary areas of interest include gender-based asylum claims as well as immigration relief for children and victims of domestic… Read more »

Christy M. Swatzell, Esq.

Christy M. Swatzell, Asylum Initiative Director, is a graduate of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in White Plains, NY. Before joining MIA, Ms. Swatzell was the Co-Legal Director at Latino Memphis where she represented detained immigrants in removal and custody proceedings. Fresh out of law school, Ms. Swatzell became a staff… Read more »

Caroline Marie Burriss, Esq.

Caroline Marie Burriss, Children’s Project Supervising Attorney, is a lifelong Memphian and a graduate of the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.  and the University of Tennessee (B.A., Sociology).  Before joining MIA as a Staff Attorney in 2017, Ms. Burriss found her passion as an immigration attorney through internships with the Community… Read more »

Ivonne Cornejo Ortiz

Famuly Unity Project Coordinator Ivonne Cornejo Ortiz is responsible for administering our Legal Orientation Program for Custodians of unaccompanied children. She is an Accredited Representative, authorized by the Department of Justice to represent immigrants in matters before the Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity, she provides representation to immigrants, including asylees and survivors of… Read more »

Shelley R. Johnson, J.D.

Shelley R. Johnson, Survivors’ Project Associate, is a native Memphian who has lived in San Antonio, Houston, and Central America over the last ten years. She is an Accreditied Representative, authorized by the Department of Justice to represent immigrants before the Immigration Courts and the Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Johnson represents survivors of domestic… Read more »

Lissette Zavala

Children’s Project Coordinator Lissette Zavala works with immigrant children in temporary foster care who are living in the Nashville area. Ms. Zavala is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University (BA, Political Science Pre-law & International Relations). She has 15 years of experience as an immigration paralegal. Her experience includes: asylum, unaccompanied children, victims of… Read more »

Saray Roman

Legal Services Coordinator Saray Roman attended Southwest Tennessee Community College, and prior to joining MIA, she worked for GCA Services Group as an Administrative Assistant. At GCA, Ms. Roman conducted interviews with and orientations for Latino job applicants; she also assisted applicants with completing employment eligibility verification forms and complying with fingerprinting requirements. She enjoyed… Read more »

Luis Eduardo Melean

Asylum Initiative Coordinator Luis Eduardo Melean, originally from Venezuela, attended business school and culinary school before immigrating to the United States in 2016. Mr. Melean joined MIA because he has always been inclined to help those in need. During his first year in Memphis, Mr. Melean volunteered at Asha’s Refuge as an ESL teacher. He… Read more »

Maria Grazia Boldrin

Legal Services Coordinator Maria Grazia Boldrin comes to MIA with considerable experience in litigation and administrative law after a 30-year career as an attorney in Venezuela. Ms. Boldrin earned her law degree from the Central University of Venezuela in 1985 and her LLM from Florida International University College of Law in 2017. Prior to joining… Read more »