Our Staff

ASAP was founded in the spring of 2015 by four Yale law students—Conchita Cruz, Swapna Reddy, Dorothy Tegeler, and Liz Willis—to prevent the wrongful detention and deportation of refugee women and children.

Swapna Reddy, Co-founder and Director | swapna.reddy@asylumadvocacy.org

Swapna is an Echoing Green Fellow and Equal Justice Works Emerson Fellow. Prior to law school, she conducted technical and empirical research for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Indianapolis Colts, and TERC, an educational research nonprofit. She also worked abroad, assisting a community organization to develop a microfinance program on the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, and designing randomized controlled trials to identify the best means of educating low-income voters in India. Swapna graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2009, with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and minor in Economics. A John Harvard Scholar, her thesis research was published in Artificial Intelligence.

Swapna earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2016, where she co-founded ASAP. As a member of the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, Swapna argued in the First Circuit on behalf of the Reid v. Donelan class of immigrants subjected to prolonged detention, and directed a Know Your Rights program for immigration detainees in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Swapna has experience providing civil rights and immigration legal services at Brooklyn Defender Services, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Ross Silverman LLP. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Swapna was raised in Tennessee and speaks English and Spanish.

Dorothy Tegeler, Co-founder and Deputy Director | dorothy.tegeler@asylumadvocacy.org

Dorothy Tegeler is a Skadden Fellow. Prior to law school, Dorothy worked for five years at the health education non-profit Hesperian Health Guides, best known for its practical books such as Where There Is No Doctor. As an Editor and then the Assistant Director of Hesperian, Dorothy edited sixteen community health manuals in English and Spanish and helped to launch a "health wiki" that is now used by over 4 million people per year. Dorothy also has a background in organizing for domestic worker rights and disability justice with the group Hand in Hand.

From 2016-2017, Dorothy was a law clerk to Judge Michael P. Shea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. She earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2016. As a law student, Dorothy represented clients in immigration, employment, housing, child custody, and post-conviction criminal cases through the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Criminal Justice Clinic, and Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic. She graduated with honors from Brown University with a degree in International Relations in 2008. Dorothy speaks English and Spanish.

Liz Willis, Co-founder and Program Manager | liz.willis@asylumadvocacy.org

Liz Willis is an Equal Justice Works Fellow. She has worked with asylum seekers in the United States and abroad, with a focus on working with Latin American and Latinx communities. Prior to law school, Liz researched Latin American refugee policy at Asylum Access in Quito, Ecuador, worked with farmworkers through Student Action with Farmworkers in Durham, North Carolina, and conducted media analysis of social justice issues at Berlin Rosen in New York. As a student at Yale Law School, Liz was a member of the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, a Legal Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) chapter at Yale, and an Articles Editor for the Yale Law and Policy Review. She was also awarded the Khosla Memorial Fund for Human Dignity Prize and the Yale Law Women Outstanding Leadership Award. 

Liz is originally from Green Creek, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as executive director of Students for Students International (S4Si), a student-run nonprofit organization. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she graduated with highest honors and highest distinction in Political Science and Global Studies with a concentration in Hispanic Studies in 2013, and received an Americas Leadership Award for Service to the Latino Migration Project. Liz speaks English and Spanish.

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Conchita Cruz, Co-founder | conchita.cruz@asylumadvocacy.org

Conchita served as ASAP's co-director from 2015-2017. During this time she was also a Gruber Fellow in Global Justice and Women’s Rights. Prior to law school, Conchita served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and as Chief of Staff for State Senator Gustavo Rivera of the Bronx. Conchita has worked as a policy and political advisor for progressive local, state, and federal candidates in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and New York, and served as a Spanish-language spokeswoman for President Obama’s re-election campaign. She has also worked as a community organizer for the Central American Resource Center, and hosted a Spanish-language radio show in South Carolina focusing on immigration issues. Conchita speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French.

Conchita is originally from Miami, Florida, and is the daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant and Cuban refugee. She graduated with honors from Brown University in 2007 with a degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies, and earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2016, where she co-founded ASAP. While in law school, Conchita represented clients and developed legal resources at the Bronx Defenders’ Immigration Unit, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the Miami-Dade Public Defenders. She was a member of the Criminal Justice Clinic and Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, where she prepared federal litigation, including a lawsuit defending President Obama’s immigration executive actions. Conchita served as President of the American Constitution Society (ACS) at Yale and Chair of the Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA).

 

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