Office of Immigrant Services

Staff

Alessandra Ceccarelli

Manager – Immigration Legal Services – Knoxville, Tri-Cities, Chattanooga

Department of Justice (DOJ) Partially Accredited Legal Representative

Alessandra Ceccarelli received a MPhil in Politics and International Relations from Keele University (UK) in 2013. She moved to the United States the same year and started working at Catholic Charities of East Tennessee in 2014. She has been a DOJ Partially Accredited Legal Representative since 2015 and has been the Program Leader of the Office of Immigrant Services since 2016. She has represented clients in matters ranging from asylum to citizenship and has advocated for their rights in various forums. She has organized and run immigration legal clinics, citizenship workshops and Know Your Rights Presentations across East Tennessee. In recognition of her service, she was presented with the 2020 Latino Ally Award by Centro Hispano de East TN. She is fluent in Italian, English, Spanish and French.

Edith Coral Johnson, Esq.

VOCA Staff Attorney – Knoxville, Tri-Cities, Chattnooga

Edith Coral Johnson obtained her Juris Doctorate degree in 2000 from the University of the District of Columbia School of Law. Before joining Catholic Charities of East Tennessee in 2017, she worked for Community Legal Services (CLS) of Prince Georges County, MD. At CLS, she worked as the Director of the Worker’s Rights Legal Clinic assisting day laborers in negotiating payments for day labor work. Mrs. Johnson is currently teaching an Immigration Humanitarian Relief Clinic at the Duncan School of Law at LMU where she trains law students to work with survivors from underserved communities. She is fluent in Spanish and English.

Jacqueline Rivera Cornier

Department of Justice (DOJ) Partially Accredited Legal Representative – Chattanooga Office

Jacqueline Rivera Cornier received an MA in Human Resources Management from Universidad del Este in Yauco, Puerto Rico in 2010. She moved to the mainland in 2012 and started working in immigration law in 2020. She gained substantial experience in working on asylum cases and with unaccompanied minors at private law firms in the Chattanooga area. She joined the Chattanooga office of Catholic Charities of East TN in 2022. Jacqueline’s expertise encompasses a wide range of cases, but she has become an expert in serving Cuban entrants. Her dedication to serving the immigrant community is rooted in her beliefs of equity and justice for all. She is fluent in Spanish and English.

Alma Vazquez

Department of Justice (DOJ) Partially Accredited Legal Representative – Tri-Cities Office

Alma Vazquez joined Catholic Charities of East Tennessee in 2004. She became a DOJ Partially Accredited Representative in 2009. Alma worked with migrant farm workers, DACA recipients and families; she has represented hundreds of individuals with a wide range of immigration cases. She is an expert in family reunification and DACA matters. Alma is one of the funding members of Junt@s a local organization aimed at supporting the Lantinx and international communities in Johnson City and neighboring counties. She is fluent in Spanish and English.

Michael Siyuan Shao, Esq.

Staff Attorney – Knoxville, Tri-Cities, Chattanooga

Michael Shao joined the Office of Immigrant Services in February 2023. He graduated from the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law in 2022 and is a member of the Tennessee Bar. During law school, he interned and volunteered at the Office of Immigration Services, where he found his passion for immigration law. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University. His current practice focuses on humanitarian relief, specifically asylum and services to unaccompanied minors. He is fluent in English and Mandarin.

Alejandra Osorio Candelario

Legal Assistant – Knoxville

Alejandra Osorio Candelario graduated from Maryville College in 2023 with a BA in Psychology and Criminal Justice. While attending Maryville College she participated in various activities and was the president of the Latinx Student Alliance as well as the Bilingual Admission Ambassador. As a leader in these organizations, she strived to empower and advocate for the Hispanic/Latin and Dreamers communities. Alejandra joined the Office of Immigrant Services as Legal Assistant in June of 2023. She is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and migrated to the US in 2002 as an infant. Alejandra witnessed first-hand the struggles of many immigrants in America. She is also a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient. One of her goals is to advocate for and help others in similar situations. Alejandra is currently working towards her DOJ Accreditation. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

Dania Gonzalez-Soto

Administrative Assistant – Knoxville

Dania Gonzalez-Soto joined Catholic Charities of East TN in August 2023. Dania was born and raised in Puerto Rico, lived in Western New York for over 13 years before moving to Tennessee. She worked as a bilingual specialist in different capacities and has extensive experience in administrative work. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

Dianey Flores

Community Advocate – Tri-Cities

Dianey Flores joined Catholic Charities of East TN in January of 2024 as a liaison to the Glenmary mission. She is pursuing a degree in paralegal studies and political science at East Tennessee State University. Before coming to Catholic Charities, she worked at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, serving communities in eight counties surrounding the Tri-Cities area. Her work focuses on educating and connecting the underserved in our communities with available resources. She is fluent in English and Spanish.