Executive Committee Officers

2022-2023 AILA SD Executive Committee Officers’ Vision for the Year

This year our goals are as follows:

  • Increase membership involvement

  • Uplift new and BIPOC voices

  • Collaborate with local San Diego legal and community organizations

  • Transition into a hybrid meeting model

  • Continue to strengthen relationships and open communication with our government counterparts

Bios & Contact Information

Maria C. Chavez, the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, is a partner at Jacobs & Schlesinger LLP in San Diego, CA. She represents clients in a wide range of immigration matters including removal defense in immigration court, family-based petitions, and humanitarian remedies. She frequently gives presentations around the community on various topics in immigration and nationality law and volunteers with immigrant rights organizations throughout San Diego, including the Community Law Project, UURISE, and the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium. She is a member of Lawyer’s Club of San Diego, San Diego La Raza Lawyer’s Association, and the San Diego County Bar Association. Ms. Chavez has been a member of AILA since law school, and has served on the CBP, EOIR, ICE-OCC, ICE-ERO liaison committees and the Social Media & Media Committee, in addition to speaking at numerous AILA conferences. Ms. Chavez is a tireless and passionate advocate for immigrants. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in immigration courts nationwide, the state of Maryland, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Nanya Thompson is the founder of Nanya Thompson Law based in downtown San Diego, California. Her immigration practice focuses on detention matters, removal defense, family-based immigration matters, humanitarian relief, and naturalization and citizenship. Ms. Thompson has been a member of AILA since 2007. She has chaired many liaison committees and has spoken at the 2019 California Chapter conference. Ms. Thompson has practiced exclusively in the area of immigration law, beginning her career as a law student at the immigration law clinic at the University of California. She is very dedicated to fighting for immigrant rights as her maternal grandfather was held in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Due to her family’s immigrant experiences, she is passionate about fighting to protect immigrants’ constitutional rights. Ms. Thompson received her J.D. from University of San Diego.

Michelle Celleri is currently the Human Rights Counsel with Alliance San Diego where she oversees their immigration legal services, education and outreach as well as high impact litigation. She works closely with the immigrant community, organizations and policy centers to ensure all voices are a part of informing decisions that affect the immigrant community. She has been an immigration attorney since 2013 and has worked with the immigrant community for 20 years. She has been an active member of AILA since 2014 serving on committees every year including USCIS, CBP, state advocacy, SSA and LEA. Mrs. Celleri is pleased to serve on the AILA Executive Committee and help members have the support they need locally to be successful.

Noemy Cruz is a Senior Associate Attorney at Hurwitz Holt, APLC in San Diego, CA. She primarily represents individuals in removal proceedings, asylum matters, VAWA, and U visa petitions. Her practice also includes family-based immigration matters, appeals, and federal litigation. She is dedicated to helping immigrants navigate the complex immigration system in a compassionate and trauma-informed manner. Ms. Cruz received her J.D. from California Western School of Law and has been licensed in the state of California since 2017.

Ryan Alexeev is the founder of North County Legal, APC, based in Carlsbad, California, in North County San Diego. Her immigration practice focuses on businesses, investors, family-based immigration matters, and citizenship. She also has a niche practice that involves estate planning for foreign nationals and pre-immigration tax planning. Ms. Alexeev has enjoyed taking her passion for immigration and estate planning and helping her clients when the two areas intersect. Ms. Alexeev has been published in San Diego County Bar Association publications and the Carlsbad Business Journal on numerous occasions. Ms. Alexeev has been the recipient of numerous awards over the course of her career and has enjoyed speaking at universities and conferences. Ms. Alexeev received her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law and a LL.M. in Taxation from the University of San Diego.