Welcome to Christy and Yoana!

MIA is thrilled to have two amazing new staff members, Christy M. Swatzell and Yoana Flores.

Christy 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 attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County New York where she represented indigent defendants charged with felony crimes. While at Legal Aid, Ms. Swatzell spent a lot of time working with a diverse group of clients. It was there that she found the intersection of criminal and immigration law fascinating and critical to providing holistic representation to immigrants. Presently, she leads our new Asylum Initiative dedicated to assisting asylum seekers detained at the Tallahatchie Correctional Facility. Off the clock, Christy enjoys trips to the park with her partner, Jacque and their two dogs, Maxwell Lamar and Frank Davis. 

Yoana Flores, Asylum Initiative Coordinator, is responsible for coordinating our Legal Orientation Program for asylum seekers detained at the Tallahatchie Correctional Facility located in Tutwiler, MS. Ms. Flores has over 2 years of experience providing immigration legal services in both nonprofit and for-profit settingss.

Ms. Flores comes from a long line of first-generation Salvadoran immigrants. Her dedication to immigration reform and legal services was born out of her personal life experience. Early childhood memories involve assisting her own mother and father with interpreting, visiting immigration attorneys, and attending asylum interviews. Ms. Flores has firsthand experience coping with the inequalities and struggles so many of our immigrant neighbors face. Her life experience along with a growing knowledge of immigration policy fuels her passion for immigrant justice.

When Ms. Flores is not spending long hours fighting for immigrant rights she loves spending every free moment with her husband and two children, Milan and Jasmine.

by Allison Wannamaker, Esq

Allison Wannamaker, a native Memphian, serves as MIA’s Managing Director.
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