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.

Conchita Cruz, Founder and Co-Director | conchita.cruz@asylumadvocacy.org

Conchita is 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).

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

Swapna is an 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. She also served as Chair of the Clinical Student Board, and traveled to Jordan to assist Iraqi refugee clients as Legal Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project at Yale. 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. She is originally from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and is the daughter of Indian immigrants.